Are you wanting to get your children more involved in the gardening around your home? Do you want them to learn more about the environment they live in by getting them to help you with the gardening? Are they asking you if they can help because they are curious and want to learn? Or do you just want to spend some quality time with your children and home gardening springs to mind? Any of these reasons are good ones for wanting your children to help with the home gardening. Here are a few tips to get your children, no matter what age, excited about helping out with the home gardening.
Sit down with your children and show them the many types of flowers that can be planted in your home garden. Let them get an idea of how beautiful these flowers can become once they have grown, if you are starting from seed. If you are planning on buying flowers that are already in containers waiting to be planted, take them to a local lawn and garden shop and let them look at the flowers.
This may be a good idea even if you are starting from seed. You can allow your children to smell each plant’s different and unique aroma. If they love a certain type of flower, but sneeze the whole time they are around it, then you will know they are allergic to this certain flower and can steer their interest away from this one and onto another type. After all, no one enjoys gardening when they are sneezing the entire time and getting stuffy noses.
Let your children choose the plants for the flower garden. This will make them feel like it is more their garden than yours and will make them more interested in making sure that these plants flourish and thrive. Intervene only if your child wants to purchase flowers that they may be allergic to, if you think the taller plants will be too large for your children to handle or if a certain type of flower needs extra care and you are not sure your child is up to that much responsibility – like roses. Since most children enjoy flowers that are colorful and interesting, be prepared to buy lots of zinnias or sunflowers.
The next decision is where to put the flower garden. Unless your child decides they want to place the flower garden in the middle of the patio or the middle of the yard where the flowers might get trampled on during play time, then allow them to decide where to place the garden. Remind them that their flowers are just beginning to grow and will need a lot of care so they should be somewhere close to them. Your child will more than likely want their garden outside their bedroom window or somewhere in the yard where they can easily see it while they play.
If you are starting your garden from seedling, then make sure to help your children dig the holes properly. Most children love to dig around and play in the dirt and if you don’t watch them carefully, you might find you have holes that seem to go all the way to China. Once the holes are dug, help them to place the seeds inside of them so that they won’t end up dumping a hole packet of seeds into one hole.
If your child is really young and you are afraid of the curious “want to put this in my mouth and taste it” moments, or if your child has very small hands, then you might want to place the seeds in the hole yourself. Make your child happy by telling them that the most important job is making sure that the seeds are covered up, then sit back and watch as your child happily plays in the dirt again by pushing it all back in the hole.
If you have more than one child who is helping with the garden, here is a great way to remember which child planted which seeds or flowers. If you bought the starter flowers, you will have a tiny placard showing what type of flower you have just planted. Before you put the placard into the ground, write the name of the child that planted that seed underneath the picture and then place the placard into the ground.
If you are starting from seed, you can make your own placard out of cardboard, some type of stick and some masking tape. Write the name of the plant on it, along with your child’s name and place it into the ground. This way you will know exactly where the different flowers are planted as well as which child planted them. This will keep your children from arguing over which plant is theirs as well as giving them a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Getting your children to water the plants should not be a chore. Just as with dirt, children love to play in the water. Don’t let them use the water hose, however, since they may become more interested in squirting each other than they are in taking care of their flowers. Instead, buy each of the children their own watering can and put their names on it. Fill them up with water and help them to use just enough water to soak into the roots of their flowers. If you have older children, once they become used to how much water their plants need, you can just sit back and watch.
Have your children keep a journal of some kind about their flower garden and it’s different stages of growth. If they are too little to write, they can always draw pictures. If they can write, then they can put down the date they started their garden and then fill in every few days with the differences they are noticing in their flower gardens. This is especially exciting for them when the first sprouts begin to show.
The most important thing you have to remember is to make home gardening fun. Don’t make it seem like a chore. In other words, don’t nag or badger your children into going outside and caring for their flowers if they don’t feel like it. Instead, make a suggestion that their “babies” might die if they aren’t taken care of and your child will more than likely never need to be reminded about watering their flowers again. In fact, if you make it a family fun time, your children will probably want to water and look after their plants two or three times a day.
If they make a mess don’t make a big fuss about it. Simply get out the tools needed to clean up the mess, have them help you clean it up and go on about your business. If your child makes a mistake and feels badly about it, remind them that even mommy and daddy make mistakes – they are a part of learning. Never let your child get frustrated or upset while tending their garden or home gardening will not be the type of happy experience you want them to have and might even cause them to give up on the whole idea altogether.
By keeping home gardening fun and interesting for your children, you will give them a chance to discover a wonderful and beautiful hobby.