Gardening is a great experience for children. It is one of the best ways to educate and discipline them. Through а game, they learn so much - patience, gratitude, mindfulness and many other important life lessons. I say a game because gardening jobs, which we see as a hard physical work, kids see as a game. Thus, they’re having fun, while learning. So, this is one of the best tactics in order to help them grow.
Lesson 1: Mindfulness
Basically, mindfulness is about being more aware of what is happening at the present moment outside and inside of us. And there is nothing that connects you more to the surroundings than gardening. People, who don’t own a garden or are newbies at gardening probably won’t understand what I mean. But a true gardening lover knows that on a good day, when the plants are reaching tо the sky and the soil runs richly through your fingers, that is when you feel totally connected to the present. Achieving mindfulness can be pretty hard in today’s busy reality, which makes us disconnect more and more from our roots with every day. Therefore, giving this lesson to your children is extremely important for their future. You can teach them that in order to bring their attention to experiences occurring in the present moment they don’t need to take long vacations or expensive meditation classes. All they need to do is lose themselves in gardening. Disappear into the process and become one with the plants.
Lesson 2: Patience
Gardening is not only about teaching the kids how to do a job, but also to put their hearts into it. It teaches them to be patient and not to leave their work unfinished. Most jobs, school being one of them, begin with careful planning, eagerness and ambition. However, many of them end in disappointment and reluctance. And here comes the gardening! Through it children learn that after they’re done with all the hard work, they have to wait for the results. Having patience is hard for kids (and adults too!). So gardening is good way to teach them to be more patient.
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Lesson 3: Gratitude and appreciation
We all know that when you’ve done something by yourself you appreciate it a lot more. But what about when you fought for something really hard and you still didn’t succeed in achieving it? You start appreciating it even more. Although, not that hard, gardening is a complex process. Therefore, the chance of your kids achieving their purpose on their first time is pretty small. At the beginning they will be disappointed and that is when you need to encourage them. However, when they finally succeed they will be so grateful; to you, to themselves, to the nature and they will appreciate the fruits of their work a lot more.
Lesson 4: Not giving up
Personally, I think that the job that makes kids most interested and excited is planting. If you want, you can help them and have some quality time in the garden together. Keep in mind, though, not to help them too much. Give advice, but don’t do it yourself. Let them do the job on their own. And then... just wait. When the time comes there’s a pretty good chance that their plant won’t even grow. If it grows probably it won’t be as strong as it should be. As I said, gardening is not so easy, especially on your first try.
Your second step should be to support your child and to comfort them. Teach them that they will not always succeed on their first try. And that that’s okay. Give them advice how to do better the next time. Explain that some things may even take many, many tries, but they should never give up if that’s something they really want. Finally, help them get better. And I don’t mean only with the gardening. Always help your children and support them. Make them believe in their dreams!
Your final step would be to just enjoy their look when they finally succeed with the given task. Trust me, there is nothing better than seeing the excitement in their eyes when after 2-3 or 20 tries they finally see their first plant peeking through the soil. Afterwards, when they see it growing healthy and strong day after day they get even more excited and proud. You’ll be proud, too. At the end when they try their own fruits, they realise that it was worth it. I think that’s the best lesson!
The best time to start gardening with your children is the Summer vacation. You’ll teach them to appreciate the value of their work (education) and thus, they’ll be eager to do it. Or, they’ll be so tired from all the gardening tasks that they won’t be able to wait to go back to school.
My name is Ian Morrison. I’m a happily married man and I have two amazing children. I’m a gardening expert and I work for Paul’s Mowing Melbourne - the company that offers the best lawn mowing services in Melbourne.