Include Your Children in Yardwork For an Appreciation of Your Garden Instead of it Becoming a Dig Site
Edited by Maria Quinney, Nerissa Avisado, Lynn
Parenting and a beautiful garden can be a daunting task. Little things like including the children from the beginning greatly helps, as they will then respect the garden instead of uprooting your beautiful flowers year after year.
- 1Take your children on a shopping trip to your local nursery. Allow them to pick out gloves, a shovel and garden shoes. Dollar stores generally have these items, including plastic clogs in children's sizes. Pick out annuals to plant for that season and allow them to plant them in a "child" area of your garden. Vegetables and wildflowers are generally hardy enough for children gardening. Choosing certain varieties of lettuce that "grow as you go" regenerate the entire season so that the children can watch the regrowth over and over.Advertisement
- 2Shipping pallets make awesome child gardens. You simply staple landscape fabric to the bottom and fill them with soil, then plant. This allows for "rows" for your child to follow as they plant along with the ability to move it. You can even attach pressure treated 4 x 4 legs with wheels to make the child can garden to their height and they will be easily movable. If you are going to hang the pallet for a vertical garden, plant tightly and allow the roots to settle for around two weeks before you hang the pallet. The children can even personalize the pallets beforehand with paint if planting flowers or food coloring mixed with tea if planting vegetables.Advertisement
- 3Save a rotisserie container with a clear lid and plant seeds for the garden around 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. The rotisserie container acts as a mini greenhouse, keeping moisture in for better seed starting. Some general no-fail plants are tomatoes and poppies.
- 4Stick a few annuals in their "child" area of the garden that are readily stocked almost all summer. This aids in fixing disasters such as the two-year-old destroying the five-year-old's favorite flower.
- 5When you pick vegetables or flowers make it an event. Display the flowers in the child's room, for instance, and if you are harvesting vegetables, take time to pick out a recipe for them to make with you, along with the vegetables they grew themselves!
Keeping Both Children and Adult Safe While Yard Work is Being Done
Every year, almost half a million people in the United States suffer from injuries brought about by "simple" yard work. Regardless whether it's done by a professional gardener or a lawn manicurist hired for the weekend, utmost care and precaution are necessary to ensure the safety of everyone in the vicinity, especially the children.
Here are some safety measures you can take to avoid any unnecessary injuries:
- 1Make sure everyone's at a proper distance when handling power tools. Anything that's especially heavy, sharp or blunt, must be considered dangerous, even downright deadly. So keep everything out of reach of children, especially chainsaws, lawn mowers, or hedge clippers, and constantly remind them to stay away while you're working with these.Advertisement
- 2Wear protective gear before working. Always wear closed shoes and long trousers when handling such power tools to make sure your lower extremities stay protected. Some slip-ons and a pair of shorts may feel comfortable to you, but you'll change your mind right away once you get hit by flying debris or rocks.
- 3Get a good, firm grip on your equipment or machine before you start working. Make sure your hands are dry, and free from sweat, grease, or anything that will make you lose your grip and control over your machine.
- 4Catch small objects with ease. If you're purchasing a new lawnmower, make sure it has a grass-collecting unit attached to it so you can easily catch small objects that may accidentally cut or hit you.
- 5Use protective goggles at all times. If you think your pair of eyeglasses will be enough to protect you, it won't. Yard work is messy and involves a lot of cutting, whacking, and dirt spading. These small particles can easily get into your eyes and you may end up spending more time under the faucet just to flush them out.
- 6Use protective gloves while working. If you've ever tried hand tool manipulation without these, you can tell from experience that those blisters can be downright nasty. You may not feel any pain initially, but afterwards it will start throbbing badly.
- 7Don't attempt to maneuver a chainsaw with trembling hands. It doesn't take a genius to get the logic behind this, but a lot of people take things for granted and still assume they can handle such heavy and dangerous equipment well, even when their hands are shaking. Please don't try this or you may end up cutting both your legs off instead.
- 8Make sure you're standing on a firm, steady base below you when you have a chainsaw on hand. If you must use a ladder, ask for assistance - from an adult! Never ask a child to do this for you because both of you might topple over together with the chainsaw! Lucky for you if it's turned off if this happens - what if it's turned on?
- 9Tread carefully. This has happened countless times before, people chopping off roots in their garden, and then end up chopping cables or water pipes instead. Probe slowly and carefully to make sure you don't hit anything dangerous underneath you.
- 10Put them away and lock them tight. Don't delay, do this right after use. Procrastination can mean the difference between life and death, especially with small children. From small gardening tools, to heavy power equipment, all these must be safely stashed away and locked up in their proper storage places to make sure everyone is safe, especially the children.
TIPS On Yard Work for Kids to Earn Money
Depending on your child's age, there is various yard work that homeowners may need assistance with throughout the year. So long as you teach them first what to do and what not to do, tools they can use and tools they must veer away from, and conduct a "dry run" in your own backyard, some yard work in your neighbor's backyard may be a good idea for them. Here are a few things to consider to know if this is appropriate for your child or not:
- 1Are they age-appropriate? Determine if your child is old enough to rake leaves, shovel snow, or plant flowers. The more you know their capabilities, the more age-appropriate yard work you can help them find for themselves.
Tips Tricks & Warnings
- Never leave your child unattended with sharp garden tools
- Make a garden chart with items such as weeding or watering. This helps the children learn maintenance and organization on a schedule. Children prefer structure.
- Press some flowers each year in wax paper for preservation and let them keep a year-by-year book of what they have grown.
Knowing how to include your children in yardwork for an appreciation of your garden instead of it becoming a dig site can be a bit of a challenge, initially. So just be patient and take time to make them understand how fun and exciting it is to actually be one with nature, in helping beautifying the environment instead of destroying it. Of course, these can only be accomplished if you set a good example. Good luck.