Benefits of Gardening
Gardening resonates with me and the therapeutic benefits it encompasses including possibilities for self-regulation and life skills for children. It supports self-regulation through being present in the moment, engaging in senses especially with touch, and the innate ability to self-regulate when we are deeply connected with earth. Then there are life skills that are gained including the following four:
1. Teaches them about nurturing and taking care of new life.
What better way of teaching metaphorically to children about growth, and what it takes to nurture a part of nature. Learning how to take care of something, and watching the outcome of their investment.
Seeing what it takes to keep a garden alive, including time management and organization regarding regular watering, turning the soil, and pulling out weeds around it. It also teaches the direct impacts when it is neglected; allowing for important life lessons and natural consequences of actions.
3. Taking care of the earth.
Supporting children is seeing how important it is to take care of nature and the earth; right down to the quality of the soil and the microorganisms in soil.
4. Being more closely connected to where food comes from.
Learning about the cycle of seed to plate. For those parents who have challenges getting their children to eat more veggies, research shows the more children are connected in the food making process they are more likely to eat what is served. Ways to support this connection can be through gardening, cooking in the kitchen as age appropriate, or choosing the vegetables with you in the grocery store (this can be more challenging with the pandemic).
These are starting points, and there is so many other benefits and ways to support children with gardening. Please take these as a place to get things peculating in the mind, and what will make the most sense for your child(ren) and family!
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I have been working with parents for over 10 years. I have learned a great deal from them as well as from parenting my own children. It has taught me that parenting is the most trying job there is, requires the support of a village, and with the right supports can be truly rewarding.