There are many reasons to teach your child to take up gardening. Besides physical, emotional and social benefits, it fosters self-confidence and gives them hope in life.
By Ashwin Dewan
The severe space constraint in city homes has made it next to impossible to have a garden these days. However, there’s always a way out for those who are genuinely interested. You can use your imagination to create a small balcony garden or have a few plants on the small patch of land outside your apartment complex. Get your child involved in it and you can watch him grow up with a green thumb.
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul – Alfred Austin
One great way to make your child eat healthy is by getting him interested in gardening. It is healthy and fun for your little one. Children love playing in the dirt and gardening gives them plenty of scope to do just that. Right from planting seeds, to mulching, weeding, and watching the vegetables and fruits grow to finally plucking them for cooking – makes for one exciting and interesting experience.
Benefits of gardening for your child:
According to TheSpoke, gardening involves your child to go outside and get busy with activities in the fresh air and sunlight. This gives him the opportunity to be close to nature. It also develops various skills and promotes a healthy body.
Let’s look at the many health benefits of gardening for your child:
If you want your child to eat healthy, involve her in gardening. Eating healthy food is vital for your child’s overall growth and development. When your children engage in gardening, they must take care of their own fruits and vegetables, which will instil in them a sense of ownership and pride. The result – they will want to eat what they have produced. Very soon, you will notice your children eating various types of veggies and fruits good for their health. With the passage of time, she will learn the importance of healthy eating.
Picking up the dirt, digging the earth, bending to tend to the fruits and vegetables, planting the seeds and watering them may seem like simple tasks, but they all require fine motor control and strength. These movements involve the use of small and big muscles of the body. In due course, your child’s motor skills will improve considerably.
This will directly impact her academic skills, which involves activities like writing and drawing.
For more information on the benefits of gardening for your child and tips to teach her gardening, flip through this ClipBook.
During gardening, children get a lot of exercise. Pulling out weeds, watering the plants, digging the soil, and cleaning out the garden/balcony involves physical activity. This encourages muscle and bone growth.
According to GardenBuildingsDirect, community gardening and gardening programmes in schools are a great way for children to meet and interact with other children. While working on the common objective of maintaining a garden, your child’s social skills are enhanced as they learn to work in a group and communicate clearly with their peers.
Children also learn to be patient as they watch the growth of plants from seeds. This also enables them to be self-understanding, to learn to pay attention, and listen and follow directions. All these little actions will help your child deal with people and things better as he grows.
Are you worried about your child’s poor math grades? Try gardening! From counting the seeds sowed to measuring the depth of the soil, your child will develop valuable math skills when she is gardening. As a parent, you can put math lessons into the gardening experience. According to MommyUniversity, your child can measure the plant’s growth and create a graph for comparing with the growth of other plants. Younger children can be made to count the petals on a flower or measure and compare the sizes of vegetables.
You can test your child’s mathematical skills further by asking her questions like the litres of water a potato plant requires every day or how many seeds can be sown in a pot or little area of land.
Gardening requires us to step outdoors and work amidst nature. Your child will be surrounded by green plants, fresh air and sunlight. These surroundings will keep your child calm and relaxed.
In fact, according to an article in SAGE journals, a study conducted by researchers at Amsterdam states that the level of cortisol – a stress-induced hormone – decreased in participants who had access to a garden.
When your child is engaged in gardening, he uses all his senses – he touches and feels the seeds, sees the different colours on display and takes in the smell of the flowers. This heightens his sense of sight and smell.
Gardening can help your child develop her ability to plan and organise things. She will learn about the different flowers blooming during different seasons, the time taken for a seed to sprout, a vegetable to grow, etc. This will improve her planning and problem-solving capabilities.
Apart from these benefits, gardening also fosters family bonding, teaches young children to be responsible and improves their confidence. So, if you don’t already have a garden, help your child start one today.
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