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Updated: Aug 28, 2021


Have you made the decision as a family to grow a garden together. That is what we are going to talk about today. How to get the kids involved in the garden and maybe how to get those kids to eat some of that garden harvest. Let's get Growing!



Intro


Hello and welcome to the Pray, Just Plant Podcast. I am your host, Crystal Mediate, and today we are going to dive into season 3 episode 4. And we are going to talk about gardening but also, how do we get the kids to join us? How do we garden as a family? And how do we help the children to see vegetables as something good to eat especially when they have grown them themselves?


Disclaimer


Now a small disclaimer here, I am not about to say that all of these solutions are going to get your kids eating green beans tomorrow! I struggle with that and I have struggled for years to get my kids to enjoy their veggies. We are going to be talking about some ideas and suggestions to get the kids a little more involved in growing. And hopefully encourage our kids to eat the fruits of their labor, to eat some of the garden harvest.


With the disclaimer out of the way let’s get started!


Get Kids In the Garden


The first way to get the kids growing in the garden is to get the kids in the garden. When you are out doing your weeding bring them along with you. Have a little area, especially if there are very little, that has special garden toys that only get to play within the garden. When we involve our kids in our everyday life they learn and realize that some of the places mom goes are really not that bad.


Now you can push this too far. If the kids are sick of the garden but you want to weed for just 5 more minutes you are going to have to be a little more understanding. And it's okay to stop before you get all you want done. Or better yet just take a break and then come back to the garden. But you are going to have to be, yes you mom, more flexible. I know it is really easy to get the kids out into the garden and now want to get so much done.



You have to remember that if your goal is to involve the kids in the garden the garden is going to have to come second. I know this is hard. But it will be okay! Those kids are watching you. You are modeling for them what you hope they will do with you. And if you are modeling frustration they will too.


That is the first thing as a parent we need to show our kids. We need to show them that gardening is fun. If you enjoy it they will too!


Kids Size Tools


Another thing you could do is to get tools that are their size. You are modeling actions that you want your kids to do and that is amazing. But when you give them their own tools they are going to feel more comfortable and want to get more involved. They will get to do more things. Because the last thing a child wants to do is try to help but the shovel they are using is too heavy. Or the spade they want to help you with is just too big. It will be the struggle that caused the frustration. Now some kids are going to insist that they use the same tools that you do. But just talk to your child and ask him if a tool his size would help.




Give them Their own Space


The next tip is to give them an area of their own. Give them an area that is all theirs to grow. Yes, all theirs to grow. That means all theirs to weed, and be responsible for. This may not be something a two or three-year-old could do completely on their own. But as they grow they are going to see the responsibility and see what happens to that little piece of land. They are going to see how their actions or sometimes lack of actions will affect their environment.


The garden is such an amazing tool to help kids grow and become aware of the environment and how their actions affect the world around them. There is nothing that reacts so quickly as growing a garden. One day you plant the seed and just a few days later something is growing in its place. That is just a simple example of a child's previous action. They did the action of planting the seed and now there are plants growing. Then they are going to see those seedlings grow and flourish. But then they are going to start to see the weed seeds germinate. And then they are going to see how those weeds affect the plants that they have been caring for.



Gardening is a very reactive place for children. It is a very reactive place for ourselves. To see God’s nature and how it evolves, to me is very calming and it is the same for our kids.


And it is important that we as Moms don’t take over. Yes, don’t we have a tendency to make everything about learning or maybe just maybe about doing things our way? But if you give them an area that is out of the way and will not interrupt our growing. It is going to give your child several things. It will give them a place that they can control. Yes, that means we as parents need to back out of the way. This is when we let God and nature be the teachers. We let the child react, learn, and just enjoy being part of the growing experience.


Give Them a Job


The next thing would be to give them a job. Give them something to do. Yes, they have their own little plot. But now include them in the things that you are doing. So they can learn the management side. They can learn that mom has a schedule for her weeding. Mom has a schedule for watering her garden. Mom also knows that this is a weed and that is not.


When we give our kids a job and involve them in the everyday running of the garden. It does not have to be a huge job. It can be as simple as asking them to bring you a desired shovel. But for older kids, it can be much more.



I have given my teenager jobs that help me not manage the garden but our whole homestead. I have made my oldest, he is 17, the project manager. When I have a project that I want done on the homestead or in the garden. I let him handle the details. He figures out the plan, the list of supplies and helps his dad get them from the store. And then when he has everything ready, the project is ready to be built without any excess run around. My middle son loves to cook, he is 14. His job is to help me, meal plan and cook the harvest from the garden. So sometimes the job doesn’t have to be actually in the garden but be part of the garden.


By giving our kids a job they are more involved and we are more involved with them. We are involving them with us so they can learn right along with us and still feel that responsibility. So they can take that knowledge and work on their own little plot.


Pick What to Plant


The next tip you can do is to have your child help you pick what you are going to grow in your garden. This doesn’t need to be a huge thing where they pick everything and you have no choice. But instead, you bring your child alongside you in the picking. For example; you want to plant carrots, let your child pick just one of the varieties of carrots you plan to grow. Now, warning here, your child just might pick purple carrots. And that is going to be okay! That might result in a taste testing contest between the purple and orange carrots. And oops, your child just ate a bowl of carrots with you asking her to.



Visit the Garden to Just Enjoy


This is when you just bring them to the garden to explore. Don’t come with any agenda or to-do list. Just come to the garden to enjoy it! And even better, visit a garden in your area. Like a botanical garden, a community garden, or a discovery garden for kids.


When we take the kids to the garden to just play and enjoy, they see the garden as not just a place to work and grow food but as a place to explore, learn, and just have fun. Have ever played dinosaurs in the corn patch or peek-a-boo in the potato patch.


These are the memories that will stay with your children and you too!


And don’t worry the kids are not going to destroy the plants; they will welcome them as playmates.



Help you Harvest


One way to maybe get your kid interested in tasting the harvest is to let them pick. Let them learn what a really good strawberry looks or maybe even tastes like.


And this too allows children to see the fruits of their or your labor. They get to see what all that hard work was for. Delayed gratification is an important virtue. To see that something may take time and effort before you see the results is worthy of being taught. Especially in this instant gratification world.


And let me tell you, seeing the confidence on your child's face when he walks into your home carrying a small harvest of purple carrots is going to be priceless.



I am going to get deep for just a moment. When we let our kids help harvest they are making a connection to their food. Those carrots are a part of them just as your child is a part of those carrots. They both have a story that intertwines. They have a growing story that is unique and that can only come from seeing exactly how those carrots got on your child's plate. Those carrots are no longer just carrots but a childhood memory that will last a lifetime.


Many people ask me why I grow our own? Why do you slaughter your own chicken or pig every year? Why do you do all that work? And I usually answer these questions in two ways. The first is because I want to provide the healthiest food I possibly can. And the second is because I want a story for my kids. I want them to have a connection to their food. I want them to understand that food comes to our plates as a sacrifice, as a gift.


Involved in the Kitchen


And to continue that story, you need to get your kids involved in the kitchen. There is a great quote that I saw on Instagram just yesterday.


“ One of the first steps to radically changing our health is learning how to cook”


If you want your child to eat healthy they need to be involved in the cooking. They need to be shown how green beans are prepared or even cooked in a healthy way. Because then they can see what is unhealthy. They can see that healthy is a simple list of ingredients and not a list as long as your arm that is on the back of their favorite cereal.


Healthy does not end with just nutrient-dense homegrown veggies but continues into the cooking process. Potatoes in themselves are healthy but french fries saturated in grease become unhealthy. And who knows, maybe just because your child made the salad for the night he felt confident in trying a bit for himself.



Choose Recipes Together


The next to last step I have for you is to let your child help pick the recipes. Then not only are they involved in the cooking process but they get to learn the steps of bringing together a balanced meal.


Now, this is not going to get your kids devouring their green beans tomorrow but what it is going to do is develop good memories of their food. I know and you know that when we have bad thoughts and feelings about something that might be all we need to dislike something. And then that thing no matter what it is doesn’t even need to be tasted or experienced. If you hear an awful story about frozen spinach you are going to be less likely to try frozen spinach. Because we as humans can be influenced by our emotions. But when we involve our kids and ourselves in a story that gives us good thoughts and good feelings it is going to encourage us to maybe try or eat part of our harvest. And that in itself is a win!


Work Together as a Family


The last tip that I have for you today, is to work together as a family. Yes, we started this episode with the question, “Do you want to grow a garden together? Do you want to grow a garden together as a family?”



It all starts there at the beginning. When you model as parents, when you involve your children, when you come together as a family and work together you are starting on the right track. I always tell my kids, “ A family that works together plays well together.” And a family that works in the garden together eats the harvest together. A family that plays hard in the garden together works hard in the garden together. It is all connected. It all comes together because time together is the point!


Recap


Now to recap, I hope I have helped you see that your child can be part of the whole garden. They can have a piece to call their own as well as help with every part of the gardening process. From the seed to the plate!


I want to thank you for joining me today, in this episode of the Pray, Just Plant Podcast. I truly appreciate you listening. And If this is your first time here I want to welcome you to the Red Ridge Farm Family of Growers. If you have any questions you can not only contact me but grab a free resource from our long list of resources at my website. www.redridgefarm.org And as also ways,


Don’t let the world hold you back,


Pray, Just Plant!




Quick Links

Show Notes

Planning Beyond the Harvest Handbook

Building Soil Health Guide



Time Stamps

Intro 00:37

Disclaimer 01:02

Get Kids In the Garden 001:39

Kids Size Tools 03:12

Give them Their own Space 04:09

Tips and Tricks 06:34

Give them a Job 09:43

Pick What to Plant 11:26

Visit the Garden to Just Enjoy 12:54

Growing With God 14:11

Help you Harvest 17:27

Involved in the Kitchen 19:38

Choose Recipes Together 21:08

Work Together as a Family 22:39

Recap 23:25

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