An Invitation For Our Kids
Updated: Feb 17, 2020
It's important to remember that our kids, when they are little, just want to be with us more than anything. It is also very important that kids see their mum or dad doing things they love.
I am often told that when my kids are all older and at school I will have plenty of time to get done the things I want to get done and while that may be true, I think the kids seeing us getting in there and having a go, working hard and them seeing the culmination of all this work presenting itself in the form of a beautiful bouquet, food for the birds and bees, food for us - is important.
In saying this it is also key to remember that when wanting to complete gardening tasks with small kids at home it is unrealistic to think you can spend all day on it and that you can do it all. Some days you can't even do any of it! The attention spans of little ones, for one, will not allow, it no matter how magical a garden is with all the grubs and slugs and mud and fun.
the good news is that a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment can be achieved! Jobs can be completed and little ones satisfied if you break up your jobs into small, manageable, completable chunks. You still want to have a feeling of accomplishment after a session so by setting a small goal you can feel good when it is time to bring, more than likely carry, your little love back to your house for a new activity or food - always food!
I give my kids the option to help me with garden tasks - sometimes a dangling carrot is needed. My eldest son helped out with some weeding the other day and that night we had a family movie night as a thankyou. Today my youngest helped by shovelling woodchips into a box which I then spread out on the garden. He brought his own tools with him to the garden and was happy to do some shovelling for a short time. We bought the gardening tools at Bunnings and he loves that he has his own set with long handles. We were able to weed and prep a section that I had decided was size achievable and we did it!
I want the garden to be somewhere that the kids like to go so I don't push the jobs onto them. My daughter likes to pick flowers and no matter how big the carrot, she isn't as keen on any labour but that's ok. She's 5 and I love that she loves the flowers.
Some things to consider when trying to invite your kids into the garden are:
-Be prepared - mentally and with snacks! Our main garden is a bit of a way from the house and ducking back for things we have forgetten is deflating
-Buy your kids their own special garden tools - children are so often wanting to mirror us
-Set up a permanent obstacle course near the garden- Pete made one up for the kids a few years ago on his school break. We used wooden blocks, pallets for them to climb up, balance logs. A great activity for older kids is for them to design their own!
-Bring a picnic rug and art supplies. Most things you do up at the house can be done in the garden. From lego, to blocks, to reading, to drawing - doing these things out in nature lifts the activity to another level. A table and chairs set might be a great addition too.
-Bring snacks - I felt like it needed to be mentioned twice
-Give your kids their own patch of the garden to do with what they will. They can deign and paint up a sign for their garden and go seed shopping with you.
-Give them a scavenger hunt - many can be found online!
-Have music playing
-Keep attuned to the general vibe - call it a day when you need to and know that there will be another time.
Create a growing space that your kids will feel invited into no matter their interest leanings and this will give you the space to do what you love - your kids need to see this!