Dos and Donts in the garden

There can be no better satisfaction for a child than planting a seed, nurturing it through its early stages and ultimately to pick the fruit, flower or vegetable that they have watched grow. Getting your children involved in the garden will not only bring enormous satisfaction to them - you will be surprised how good it makes you feel too! Spending time outdoors as a family, creating a garden that you can all enjoy will not only provide you with fresh food and flowers but will also encourage your children to spend time outdoors instead of in front of the TV. There are just a few dos and don’ts that you will need to keep in mind to keep gardening fun for the whole family.

Do explain to your kids what you are doing when you are working in the garden to give them a greater understanding of what you should do and why. A good example is to include your children when weeding – showing them which plants are bad and explaining that weeds take nutrients and moisture from the soil that would otherwise help your garden plants to grow.

Don’t get your children to help with pruning and cutting the lawn without adult supervision. Sharp secateurs and shears in small hands could end badly if they are not taught how to use these tools correctly. Encourage them to watch you prune, and give them a turn.

Do explain to your children about watering and how it helps the plants to grow. Explain that various plants need different amounts of water. Explain to them that over-watering a plant can make the plant drown. Encouraging them to help you with watering will show them how much water each plant needs.

Don’t let your children collect bugs and insects that they don’t know. You can show your kids the multitude of birds, butterflies and insects that come and use your garden, just make sure that you explain to them that some of the animals and insects might not be so friendly. Explain that they should avoid collecting beetles and bugs unless they have an adult helping them –a dead bee can still sting you!

Do remember to always wear sunscreen.

Most importantly, remember that gardening is a fun family activity. After all, we know that children are curious, love to learn by doing and most of all, LOVE to play in the dirt!

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