Gardening for Kids – Six values that are reinforced when taking care of a ‘Plant Buddy’ (1/3)
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Every parent wants their children to succeed and live a comfortable life. Our parents make sacrifices every single day to prepare us for the world and provide the best education, learning opportunities, nutrition, skills, life lessons and experiences as possible.
As a child, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house with plenty of plants – from age 8 onwards, I was given charge of watering the plants every 2 days. My parents wanted to instill a sense of discipline in me.
As I look back fondly at those times, I am reminded of all the important lessons I took away from this experience.
Here are SIX values that are reinforced when kids learn to take care of plants in the house: -
1. Patience – “Rome wasn’t built in a day”
We live in a world where mobile phones and the internet are all around us. While we had to struggle to access internet on dial-up connections, the current generation is able to access high-speed internet at the click of a button.
This convenience has led to an expectation for “instant gratification” – on-demand food, TV, movies, games, etc.
Plants, however, are old-school – they take time to grow and blossom into bigger, more beautiful versions of themselves. Allowing your kids to follow the plants on this journey can teach them the rewards of patience in a powerful manner.
2. Planning – “Look before you leap”
Plants are relatively simple and straightforward to take care – they require light, ambient temperatures, adequate water and space to grow.
Giving a young child these responsibilities enables them to keep track of when the plants need to be watered, whether they need to be moved indoors in case of heavy rains, etc.
Children can even research online to better take care of their plants. This keeps them engaged and active – more than you would expect when taking care of simpler pets like goldfish at home.
3. Ownership – “Necessity is the mother of invention”
Once children are told the plants are their responsibility, they begin to feel a sense of ownership. Giving each ‘Plant Buddy’ a name will help them view each plant with more responsibility.
This makes them notice if the plant is facing any issues, i.e. leaves fading due to too much sunlight, plants drooping due to excessive water, etc.
Their strong desire to protect the plant will enable them to spot any signs of illness and question their parents on what can be done to fix the issue.
The loyalty and pro activeness displayed are important skills that will hold them steady for years to come.
Watch out for more life lessons that can be learned from taking care of plants in the second part of our series.
Until then, what’s a good name for a ‘Plant Buddy’? Tell us in the comments below
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