If you’re looking for a way to “grow” family relationships, look to your green thumb. Gardening creates a bounty of memories, encourages communication and develops a strong family bond.
To engage your child’s attention in this new activity, try not to make gardening a “chore.” Instead, show him or her how much it means to you. Planting a garden will give your child the opportunity to call it his or her own and develop an ‘I did it myself’ mentality.
Also, don’t expect your child to take complete responsibility of maintaining the garden- their enjoyment and interest may dissolve. Instead, try to give them good gardening experiences that will become great family memories.
When building your garden, start small, brainstorm together and use an idea from every family member. Add pathways and let each family member plant something different in 1-foot-squares. Rustic arches, sunflower rooms, and unique projects can entertain the whole family and create a kid-friendly place.
To fill your garden with bright colors, textures and fragrance, plant such things as sunflowers, cherry tomatoes, purple carrots, fuzzy thyme, prickly strawflowers and basil. You can also enhance your garden by attracting butterflies with wild plants like parsley and milkweed.
As they tend to their new garden, children will begin to feel that garden is a place of their own. Watering, weeding, and feeding plants will help them learn responsibility.
Gardening will not only foster your family bond, but also has been linked to physical and mental health benefits. Caring for plants increases compassion, boosts self-esteem, and provides physical activity for children. Research has also shown a reduction of stress, anxiety and depression. So what are you waiting for? Get gardening!