Concern for our environment should not be relegated to a single day in the year, but as it stands, meaningful conversations on this subject most often emerge around June 5 – the date on which the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) celebrates World Environment Day. The theme for this year is “Reimagine, Recreate, Restore”. Taking this as my inspiration, I’m sharing a post for Blogchatter’s #CauseAChatter program on ‘Environmental Talks’.
Who among us is blessed with the power to ‘reimagine’? Children of course.
Who among us have the vision and desire to save the world and prevent further harm? Children of course.
Restoration can only happen when a fundamental change takes place inherently, through the acceptance of mankind’s wrongdoings, and display of a sincere desire to change the future.
Personally, I don’t have much of a green thumb. I have no knowledge of gardening even though I love and thrive in nature. Fortunately, my 5-year-old son is heavily influenced by his grandfather, my father-in-law, who is a keen and knowledgeable gardener. It is a pleasure to watch them nurture the plants on our rooftop garden, on a daily basis. Trust me, this past year would’ve been very difficult to deal with if this outlet hadn’t been there for my son. Quite miraculously, our in-house grandfather-grandson team managed to grow watermelons and even strawberries in our usually arid Delhi weather!
I understand not everyone has the luxury of space to grow gardens at home, but one can nurture indoor plants or small planters in verandas too. If you would like to inculcate a love of gardening and all things green in your little ones, here are a few easy tips to follow:
MAKE GARDENING A PART OF THEIR DAILY ROUTINE:
Children are creatures of habit. They thrive and grow within the confines of a pre-defined daily schedule that allows them to know what to expect at what point in time. If gardening is a mandated evening activity (or a morning one during vacations), they will begin looking forward to it, even if reticent to participate in it at first.
ENSURE THAT IT IS A FUN ACTIVITY WITH USE OF INTERESTING TOOLS & STORIES:
If your children think that gardening is ‘a boring adult activity’, it’s because it has been presented to them as a boring adult activity. We need to change this perception and make it fun and approachable for all ages. This is easily done by following these simple steps:
- Order some fun animal shaped water sprinklers
- Encouraging them to get wet or dirty – don’t scold them!
- Tell them stories related to nature during the process
- Once they see the results of their hard-work they will start truly enjoying the process
- Take lots of photos, save their gardening progress for posterity – maybe you can even make an album!
READ TO THEM ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GROWING TREES AND SAVING ALL SPECIES ON THE PLANET:
Books are the best teachers on any subject, and in recent years there has been a plethora of books introducing the subject of environment conservation to children, in a fun and engaging manner. Here are a few that my son particularly enjoys (ages 2-6):
- ‘The Lorax’ by Dr. Suess
- ‘The Journey Home’ by Frann Preston-Gannon
- ‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Siverstein
- ‘Our Planet’ by David Attenborough
- ‘Jungle School’ series in the Tinkle Origins Collections
INVOLVE THEM IN EVERY STEP OF THE GARDENING PROCESS:
The life cycle of a plant is a fascinating and long process that requires dedication and patience to see through in its entirety. Fortunately, it offers great satisfaction upon completion. If children are involved in every step – right from planting seeds, choosing vermicompost, daily watering and nurturing and tending to the buds – they will definitely be more invested in gardening and will eventually grow up loving the process.
START EARLY FOR MOST EFFECTIVE RESULTS:
The younger your children are when you initiate them into gardening practices, the more likely they will be to convert it to a lifetime habit. Even new-borns should be familiarised and exposed to the bounties of nature as far as possible, and from there introduced to gardening at a young age. This will ensure that all your babies flourish – both humans and plants.
I hope these tips prove useful to you in your journey of gardening with your children. Do share your tips and comments below!
I also wrote a column on the subject of World Environment Day for The Daily Guardian – on the importance of adopting sustainable building practices for our homes and offices. You can read it by clicking on the link.
This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter
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