Most parents can attest that teaching their kids responsibility is one of the hardest parts of parenting. Yet, teaching this important life skill comes with numerous benefits. Teaching responsibility from a young age prepares our kids for life in their later years. They become responsible adults who excel both at home and in the job market. Responsible kids are confident and feel empowered even at a young age. Additionally, they learn to take responsibility for their choices, which goes a long way in helping them choose between right and wrong. There are many ways to teach kids about responsibility right at home or in the garden! Gardening with kids can be a powerful tool for teaching about and promoting responsibility.
Here are a few lessons about responsibility that kids can learn from gardening:
1. Responsibility is about caring
Gardening is all about caring. If any plant is to grow to its full potential, bear fruits, or produce food, caring has to start from the word “go.” Soil has to be prepared well, fertilizer added and weeds removed. In addition to this, plants need to be watered and given the right amount of light. When you allow your kids to experience these practices in a fun way, over time they learn how to take responsibility for smaller gardening tasks. Consequently, this teaches them the importance of caring for living things.
2. Responsibility has no room for neglect
Responsible individuals never neglect their duties. They don’t slack on what they need to do, since they know the serious consequences that negligence brings. Gardening with kids isn’t always smooth sailing. Part of the learning process can be painful. If/when kids struggle to keep up with their gardening responsibilities, they may lose a plant. Witnessing the repercussions of neglect will help them appreciate the value and importance of responsibility.
3. Responsibility is a good trait
There is no better way to teach kids than by applauding their good deeds. It makes them eager to do more and to continue at what they are doing. When you assign gardening tasks to your kids and they complete them, be sure to praise their efforts. This helps them accept responsibility for those tasks and encourages them to complete them diligently. In addition, giving kids praise helps them to know that they can be trusted for something and this in turn will lower their chances of making a mistake. Positive experiences help them realize that being responsible is a good trait and one to be worked on and embraced.
4. Responsibility and commitment go hand in hand
Whether gardening on a windowsill or a large backyard, maintaining a garden calls for commitment and teamwork. It requires the gardener to follow through with all the necessary tasks to ensure that plants grow and thrive. Put your kids in charge of a section of the garden or specific tasks, such as watering or putting away the tools. They will learn that each role is essential and that their individual commitment is necessary to support the overall growth of the garden.
5. Responsibility is self-satisfying
Being responsible has a way of bringing happiness to oneself, especially when you see the positive results in what you’ve been working on. Kids can take pride in themselves when harvest time comes with the literal ‘fruits of their labor’. An accurate sense of accomplishment is a crucial element of learning and building self-confidence.
6. Responsible people are consistent
Being responsible isn’t something you do today and forget about tomorrow. Responsibility can’t be maintained without stability and trust. In gardening, kids learn that their responsibility in caring for their plants is also about being consistent. Plants require routine maintenance, and when you forget to water them two days in a row, you can sometimes visually see the results of your inconsistency.
If you don’t have a backyard, try gardening with kids indoors! This also allows you and your kids to grow crops all year round. You’ll just need to invest in LED grow lights. Use this guide to find an LED grow light that best suits you.
We’re always looking for ways to help their kids to grow into well-rounded, happy and capable people. It turns out that gardening is a simple and powerful tool for teaching kids about responsibility; practical, hands-on experience that gives kids a grounded (pun-intended) understanding of consequences. Gardening with kids provides a natural foundation for learning about nature, consistency and care. So don’t just garden together as a family for fun, instead, be intentional in using gardening as a learning tool for the children.