I have to say first off that I love my kids all the same. They each bring qualities and gifts to this family that make it wonderful. With that said let me just take a moment to say:
I HAVE A FARMER IN THE HOUSE. WOOP WOOP.
One of my sweet,rambunctious boys has an infinity for the soil. In fact it was his birthday today and he asked for dirt cake! The kind with Oreos, I know, but still.
No, seriously a lot of people ask me how to get their kids interested in gardening. In answer I would say; Don’t push them. Encourage them in the fun things like planting and harvesting.
Have them earn their gardening gloves. If one of my kids helps out with a garden chore that they really had to work at they earn their gloves. Meaning they can go to the store with me and pick out their very own pair of gardening gloves.
Don’t expect them to want to join you when it is too oppressively hot or freezing cold. We don’t even like it out there then, why should they?
Either give them their own bit of soil or take a deep breath and loosen up about how they plant seeds. Plant things they will like to snack on out in the garden. Tart cherry tomatoes in summer and crunchy sweet carrots in winter.
You CANNOT compete with t.v. or video games, don’t even try. Limit them to a certain time or number of shows/games ahead of time. So you are not switching off the t.v. and saying, “Why don’t you come out into the garden?” Plan to have a special treat ready for when you get back inside. Maybe Popsicles in Summer and hot chocolate in Fall.
My all time favorite way to get kids interested in gardening is to arrange a early morning garden visit. There is nothing like a secret early morning visit to the garden just with mom or dad that gets kids excited. Arrange this ahead of time to wake them up early, quietly get ready, grab a muffin and head out while the rest of the family sleeps. The garden comes alive with the music of birdsong, buzzing of bees and fluttering butterflies in the early morning hours. They might find something that catches their interest on this early morning garden romp with just the two of you.
If all else fails guilt can work in your favor. Just kidding. Realize that there are some kids that are just going to be more interested than others. And do a happy dance when you get one that is. If you ask my son what he wants to be when he grows up he says, a Missionary Farmer. YES!
A few years ago we saw some rabbits for sale at the feed store and I said in passing, “I wonder if you could raise rabbits and sell them here?” He latched on to that idea and pushed on. A few years later and a few rabbits later he has a thriving business which he has learned so much from. He likes to let his rabbits out in the yard to run around. Walking around with his staff corralling rabbits has earned him the title “The Rabbit Shepherd.” He raises and shows Holland Lops and knows more about rabbits, business and advertising than any 13 year old I know. He takes care of his rabbits in rain, sleet, snow and triple digit days, even on his birthday! Can you tell I am a bit proud. My Rabbit Shepherd will be a regular writer here so you can look forward to hearing from him in the future. Meet his herd here.