If you haven’t already realised, I love my garden. I love it so much that I’m currently studying horticulture so that I can pursue it as a career once BB is in school, and generally we find ourselves in the garden at least twice a day. Once in the morning to open the greenhouses, and then once in the evening to water everything. If the weather is okay, we can be out there for hours!
As BB gets older, he’s taken a huge interest in what I’m doing in the garden and I want to nurture that — so I’m going to be writing a series of blog posts on how I’m encouraging him to love the garden too. You can follow our adventures and even try some of the ideas on your own little ones — there can never be enough time in the garden for children these days.
Leading by example in the garden
When you’re in the garden, involve your toddler in everything you can. This doesn’t have to be hands on — sometimes that can be incredibly dangerous, but when doing something they can’t help with it’s worth talking and showing them what you’re doing.
If children see you comfortable and happy while in a situation, you’ll find they’re much more at ease and accepting of it and will generally start to enjoy it too — they’ll sense your excitement and pick up on it. When vegetables in our plot are ready, I’ll get excited about harvesting them and get BB involved — when we dug up our potatoes he would take one from the soil and place it in the bag proudly. At the moment, he comes to check tomatoes with me and we pull off any red ones together.. Or, when we walk by the sugarsnaps, he searches for plump pods and helps himself.
It goes without saying that you always have to watch your toddler closely when it comes to the garden. Toddlers are still experimenting with putting things in their mouth, and some things you can find in the garden just aren’t ideal for that. With care and diligence however, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Fears can be taught..
I don’t really have an issue with spiders. But, my poor Mum hates them. Because of her reactions when I was growing up, I’ve ‘inherited’ a base uncertainty and fear of them.
For that reason, when I see something I don’t like in the garden I tend to talk about it to myself and disguise my feelings in front of BB. I don’t want to pass on my fears and anxieties. That’s why when I was pregnant I faced my phobia of fish. Now, aquariums are something I can face without too much worry!!
Fears are built up on experiences you have as a child. If you’re a parent reacting in a frightened manner to something, it’s in your child’s best interest to take note of whatever that ‘something’ is and repeat your reaction!
See, learn, do
Let your toddler watch what you do, and learn. Let them explore, let them touch and feel (with a few exceptions — nettles and other plants such as brambles are not the best learning experiences…) but most of all: let them get dirty!