For me, nothing says it's spring more than a trip to the garden center. It's been such fun to get my kids involved with gardening. One of my sons in particular is super into digging and has even claimed one of the shovels as his.
How can you have a successful gardening experience with your kid/ kids? Let's talk some gardening mojo.
Give your kids a space
It doesn't have to be a large space. A couple of pots, a single pot, a few feet. Let them pick out a plant or two they want to grow. Even my 2 year old is capable of picking out a potted plant that he thinks looks "cute." As they get older they can be more responsible for larger spaces. In previous years I drew out a picture of our garden space and let the kids each pick a plant. They then each wanted to water their own plant.
Lower your expectations
This year my three year old picked radishes. There is an entire packet of 100 radishes in a single window box. Does it bother me? A little. Did I freak out internally? Yes. Externally? NO. Why? Because the joy that was on his little face when he was planting and "tucking it in, mama. Sleep tight" was freakin precious! It makes him so proud to be in charge and it means that the next time he wants to help with me.
Get them their own tools
My tools have "wandered off" more times than I can count. There are so many cute tools sets out there for kids. However! If you just get them their own trowel/ mini rake that's great too. A lot of kids like adult tools better and that's fine.
DIRTY is the name of the game
I need you to acknowledge that this process involves dirt. Dirt will be scattered. Dirt will be eaten. Hands will be muddy. Some parents (my husband) are neat freaks so it's a bit hard for them to not freak out. But! dirt is part of the fun. The smell of soil, compost, and loam-ah! This is part of what makes it so amazing. These experiences are so great for kids.
Gardening looks different for everyone
Not every garden is the same. Some kids are super into veggies and things that can be eaten. Others are more into cut flowers. Same with parents. One of my friends only wants to garden perennials. Another loves cactus and succulents but wants nothing to do with the outside plants. What kind of garden do you think you can handle/love? What are your kids into?
Gardening can help your picky eaters
My oldest only wants to get mulch and distribute mulch. Other than that he doesn't love gardening. But he loves helping me pick out what fruit and veg we will be planting each year, and he loves tending to the strawberries. But he will eat any veggie that we grow. Because it's "ours."
Lastly! HAVE FUN!
Make sure that what you are doing is fun. If it isn't fun and you are getting super stressed about it, dial it back. I tend to chunk my task into 15-30 minute groups. Whatever I can get done while they are happy with me, is what I try to do. Then I work on part by myself. The goal is always to maximize collective happiness and the work getting done. And if occasionally they just bounce on the trampoline while I weed, that's totally cool.
Do you garden with your kids? What is on your planting list this year? Any tips you want to share?