Children are eager to participate in “grown-up” activities and help out. Letting them do so is paramount if you want them to acquire valuable life skills that will help them throughout their schooling and even later in life. One of the best activities for such purposes is certainly gardening. Among the myriad of benefits, this hobby offers—from providing you with exercise and boosting your health to putting food on your table— it will equip your child with knowledge and skills that can only be learned through experience. Here’s how a bit of work in your backyard will expand your child’s world!
Responsibility and obligations
Anyone who has ever tried gardening knows that it’s not as easy as it may seem. Nature has its own rules that we need to follow if we want our plants to thrive. While it may be a fun hobby at the same time, it gives you obligations you can’t just skip when you don’t feel like doing them. So, it’s clear that taking care of a garden comes with a certain level of commitment. Letting children experience this will teach them how to be more responsible. Let your child take care of their plants themselves, and they will learn that they are accountable for their actions.
Learning about the environment
As the world becomes more and more urbanized, a lot of the time, kids merely know their environment by theory. They may learn about how plants grow in school but conceptualizing just what it took for those vegetables to get on the supermarket shelves may not be easy. Introducing them to gardening can, however, teach them a lot about nature—and not just on paper, but in a real, hands-on way. Coming in direct contact with the soil that nourishes plants, seeing seedlings grow and develop by the day, and witnessing the process of a flower becoming fruit will help them understand their environment more deeply, and this knowledge is ever so valuable.
Life depends on nature, so helping the new generations understand the importance of protecting our environment is the only way we can expect to go on. Letting children get up close with nature and observe how wonderful it is will help them develop a sense of respect for it and encourage them to be kinder to the environment overall. Gardening also normalises that your child spends a lot of time outside, which will make them appreciate what the outdoors has to offer.
Another valuable life skill gardening can teach your child is the virtue of patience. Growing plants take a lot of effort, and the results won’t come overnight. When we can’t see the fruit of our labour instantly, we may get discouraged and give up. However, there will be many similar situations throughout your child’s life, and they must learn that some things require patience. Instead of instant gratification, gardening teaches the value of continued effort. After months of hard work, the payoff will be much more rewarding.
Failure and success
Things don’t always go the way we want in life. You can only protect your child from failures for so long before they experience the real world. However, failure is not the end of the world, and the sooner your little one learns to get back up and try again, the more successful they will be. Gardening can sometimes be tricky, and not everything will work out the first time around. However, you can always try again—plant something else, adjust your watering schedule, or try a different method. Your child will learn that failure is part of the learning process. And, when success eventually comes, they will experience a sense of accomplishment that will boost their confidence and self-esteem.
Setting your kids up for healthy lifestyle habits early on will benefit them immensely. Besides the life skills mentioned earlier, taking care of a vegetable garden can also teach them about healthy nutrition. Get them excited about eating their vegetables by serving the very vegetables you grew together! Teach them how to tell something is ripe and let them pick the food themselves! You can grow a considerable amount of produce even in a relatively small space thanks to low-cost hydroponic farming and get your children used to the concept of having fresh vegetables every single day.
Teamwork and cooperation
Finally, gardening is hard work. It means that you will need to work together to reach your goal. Working together on the same thing will give your child a sense of teamwork, and they will learn the importance of cooperation. These are skills that will make their transition into kindergarten much smoother and will undeniably boost their chances of success later in school.
Gardening is a life skill itself; your child learning how to take care of plants and grow food is useful for their future. However, along the way, they will also learn a lot of life lessons and acquire skills that can only be learned through experience, and that’s even more valuable.
Alison Pearson is an interior design student. She is a writer and designer, and her ultimate passion is art and architecture. She is also a bibliophile and her favourite book is “The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner. Follow her on Twitter.
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