Parents and children gardening together: A relationship connector – Part 2
Gardening with children can be a relationship connector when it’s fun and stress free.
April 30, 2013 - Author: Bonnie Lehman, Michigan State University Extension
Sharing the common goal of growing a plant is one of the many benefits of gardening together with your child. Additional benefits include math and science education, experiencing nature and learning about horticulture.
Think back to your childhood, did it include gardening with your parent? If your answer is yes, then how do you remember the experience to be? Is the memory negative or positive for you? Was it fun or a chore you didn’t like? Were you allowed to make some of your own choices and have your own garden space?
If you have positive memories of gardening it might be because it was fun to do an activity with your parent and it was stress free. If your memories of gardening with your parent are negative, give it some thought as to why. Some parents say they were made to work in the garden so much that it was a chore and that their every move was corrected. Michigan State University Extension suggest not allowing your negative experience to keep you from creating a positive experience and happy memories for your family.
You do not have to be an expert at gardening to do some easy projects at home.There are gardening activities to do indoors and outdoors for all the seasons in Michigan, but remember to take the necessary safety precautions when there are plants and tools involved. Kids Gardening provides information and encouragement in the family gardening section of the website including activities, educational videos, a parents primer and 10 quick to read chapter topics which includes, “What turns kids on and off to gardening.”
Consider keeping a gardening journal of the projects your family does together. For example, write what you did, date it and then write in it each day to track how many inches the plant grew, when it bloomed or anything interesting. This is a fun way to remember time spent with your child and is also a way to build literacy skills. If your children is too young to write they can draw a picture; It might be scribbles but that’s okay! Keeping the journal simple and inexpensive will encourage you to repeat it.
When parents participate with their children in activities that promote bonding and attachment it can help create a happy childhood.