According to a landscape company in New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as several other expert sources, children have a lot to benefit from gardening. The biggest one? They’re more inclined to eat their fruits and veggies.
As a parent myself, I can say this is a VERY big benefit! There is nothing more frustrating than spending supper arguing (okay, negotiating… make that begging) with little people to eat their fruits and veggies.
Gardening & A Healthy Diet
Even the pickiest eaters are absolute suckers when it comes to doing something for themselves. It’s simple human nature to enjoy the yields of one’s own hard work and effort – and children are especially open to this, as they are just learning of the concept.
The excitement a child gets as they watch a garden they have worked yield fresh foods is contagious. Since they have watched it grow, and worked hard to keep it healthy, these children are more inclined to eat it.
They are taught about healthy food choices, and how to make those choices for themselves. I mean, you can only threaten them to eat their vegetables for the first eighteen years, and after that… well, they’re on their own.
Other benefits children get from gardening include (but may not be limited to):
- A better understanding of where their food comes from
- The value of a hard day’s work
- A much-needed break from technology
- Learning the joy of working with their hands
You could also take this time to give them a little history lesson on how people used to get their food. Prior to grocery stores, the only way to make sure your family was fed was to grow them yourself. The children will pay attention better if you work it into what they are doing at that moment.
How to Get the Kids Involved
From the very beginning, you should involve the kids. In the planning stage, let them help you figure out what growing zone you’re located in, and at what times of the year food should be planted. Allow them to browse through seed color-rich seed catalogs to make a few choices of their own. When it is something they want to plant, they are more inclined towards excitement in tending it.
To ensure children don’t become frustrated or confused, keep their gardening tasks age appropriate. Take into consideration both your child’s age and maturity level when deciding what they will be able to assist with.
Finally, give your children a small space to call their own. Within your own larger plot, they will have a spot to plant the veggies they chose. This allows a sense of ownership and pride, both of which are vital in the quest of creating sufficient adults who will make positive contributions to society. This, of course, is years away, but for now, just getting them to eat their fruits and vegetables without complaint is enough!