Gardening is one of the best things you can do, but involving your children can also have enormous benefits for the entire family. Not only will your kids have fun and spend time outside reaping the many rewards of this activity, but they will also learn valuable life skills, and your bond with them will grow stronger with time.
Let’s find out all about it in detail below!
Helps Motor Skills and Cognitive Development
Gardening involves all senses–touch, sight, hearing, and smell–which is an excellent way to boost children’s cognitive development. The continual involvement of kids in gardening tasks helps them develop concentration, increased alertness, and even social skills.
This is because they’re constantly learning new things. Children of learning age can also learn about different colours and develop their taste by trying different things. Involving your children in gardening early on can help you with the latter and make it less likely they will also become picky eaters.
Performing various gardening activities will also aid the development of their fine motor skills. Simple things like carrying gardening tools, water, or soil are enough to help them hone this, as well as also develop their concentration and stimulate curiosity.
Strengthens Children’s Immune System
Looking after a garden is a physical activity that provides a healthy, moderate amount of exercise. This helps stimulate the kid’s lymphatic system, which filters out toxins from the body and boosts immunity.
Being outside also means children are getting plenty of sunlight. This provides them with vitamin D, further strengthening the immune system and also promoting bone health. Children who eat home-grown fruit and vegetables also get plenty of vitamin C, which, when combined with vitamin D, makes for an even stronger effect.
Interacting with the outside world early on will also strengthen the immune system. Many allergies and sensitivities develop because children live in too sterile an environment and have not been exposed to the outdoors enough.
That’s why gardening is one of the best things you can do to strengthen your kids’ immune systems.
Promotes Healthy Eating Habits
Most studies confirm that kids who partake in gardening activities are likelier to try and eat vegetables. This makes sense, as half the fun of gardening is to eat what you manage to produce.
Home-grown fruits and vegetables taste much better than their supermarket counterparts, making it more likely for kids to stick to helping out in the garden and, who knows, maybe start one of their own when they’re big enough.
Instilling a love for gardening in your kids early on will help them develop healthy eating habits, which can prevent obesity, allergies and other health-related problems later on in life. So, investing time with your kids in the garden is an investment in their future.
Relieves anxiety and provides better mental health
Gardening is fun and helps relieve stress and anxiety. That’s all thanks to exposure to fresh air and sunlight and a moderate amount of exercise, which produces serotonin in the brain.
Performing manual, repetitive tasks also helps calm down a racing mind and even aids creativity, as many people get ideas and inspiration when their minds are not actively busy with work.
The link between exercise and better mental health is well known. Even 30 minutes a day in your garden can have enormous benefits in the long run.
Kids who spend more time outside are generally calmer.
Children with ADHD, for example, will feel less anxious and better able to concentrate after spending even an hour in the garden. A stressed body produces more cortisol (stress hormone), which results in more inflammation and reduced absorption of nutrients.
Strengthens the Connection Between Parent and Child
Gardening can be an excellent way to deepen the bond between you and your kids, especially if it’s a fun and stress-free activity. That’s why it’s important to grant freedom to your kids to make their own choices and, if possible, even allocate their own gardening space.
Starting a garden together will also allow your kids to learn directly from you through observation. You will be surprised by how much they absorb simply by watching how you perform certain actions and when you see them trying to emulate you.
Shared purpose means working together towards a common goal, strengthening and improving the parent-child relationship. Thus, working together will allow your kids to learn how to cooperate and communicate better and ultimately feel a lot closer to you.
Teaches responsibility and helps children learn patience and planning
Most kids crave fast-paced fun and instant gratification. Gardening can help counter this, as it cultivates effort and patience, which both help your child learn the value of hard work and responsibility.
After all, nothing is as satisfying as seeing (and, in this case, literally tasting) the fruits of your own labours. Be sure that that will make a deep impression on your child, which can translate the habit of gardening into his teens and well into adulthood.
Taking care of living organisms will not only teach them responsibility but will help them develop a feeling of competence, which is linked to having healthy self-esteem. Planning ahead is also a valuable life skill that can translate into other areas of your child’s life.
Once your children have become used to playing in the garden, you can start involving them a little bit further by giving them some small responsibilities. They can help with weeding out weeds or help you pick up small tools or equipment, for example, but make sure you don’t overload them and still keep it fun.
If the bulk of the work is sometimes too much and you need extra help, remember you can always hire a team of professional gardeners to take care of the hardest tasks.
Gardening is an excellent way for your kids to develop and learn healthy habits, but perhaps, one of the most important things is that it helps foster a deeper connection with your kids, which parenting is all about.
So, the next time you have some gardening to do, invite your kids to come with you and reap all the benefits that come along with it.
Zach Morgan works as a gardening and landscaping expert at Gardening Services London. His passions include creative garden designs, plant care, and much more. Zach believes that gardening information should be made simple, easy, and accessible to everyone and he strives to achieve that through his job