I make my grand kids weed the garden alongside me in the hot sun. Why? Because I know the benefits will last them for life. Do I pay them? Not always, but sometimes, if we've been at it for a while. Is it torture? Not on your life. We have a ball out there. We laugh, we talk, we complain about the heat. We take breaks in the shade and drink ice water. Why do I think you should make your kids weed the garden in the hot sun on occasion? Because it's good for them. Here's why:
They're absorbing natural Vitamin D and raising serotonin levels.
The sun is good for you in small doses. Your body needs it to produce serotonin and Vitamin D. Natural Vitamin D from the sun is the most easily absorbed. Pills don't give you the same benefits. Serotonin from the sun boosts moods and keeps depression at bay. Make your kids weed the garden in the hot sun and you'll have happier, healthier kids.
Go without sunscreen and sunglasses for the first 10 minutes, then don protection for safety. This gives you the benefits of the sun, without the skin cancer risks.
They're developing a good work ethic.
I'm sure I'll get no argument when I say there is a lack of good work ethics in young people today. (Make no mistake, some older people have this problem too.) Being coddled and pampered with all the latest conveniences has taken it's toll on modern society. Tending a garden is hard work. If you aren't diligent, you get nothing out of it. By making kids weed the garden, you are teaching them to work for what they get out of life.
Set time limits for garden work and breaks. This gives kids practice keeping work schedules. You follow the guidelines too. Example is the best teacher.
They're learning to practice patience.
Gardens are not an overnight success story. It takes many hours of weeding, watering, fertilizing, watching and waiting before the first produce ripens. Of all garden tasks, weeding requires the most patience. By making kids weed the garden in the hot sun, you are showing them that patience pays off.
Don't make it drudgery. Be sure to crack some jokes as you work. Keep a spray bottle of water nearby to cool each other off with. Turn on the misters, if you have them.
They're being educated about gardening and life cycles.
As you work, talk to your kids about gardening. Explain here and there, why you do things a certain way. Better yet, ask them for their input. I like to say, "Why do you think I do it this way?" That gives them a chance to think and also to show what they know. You might be surprised at their answers. Kids are smarter than we think sometimes.
You can learn from your kids as they weed the garden. They might come up with some ingenious ideas for improvement. Young minds are open to more possibilities.
They're gaining empathy for your struggles.
Anytime your children work alongside you, it's a good thing. Chances are, they will admire the fact that you weed the garden daily without them. This might just lead them to think about all the other things you do to support the family. Don't underestimate their sense of reasoning.
Remember when you make kids weed the garden in the hot sun that lessons don't produce instant results. Your child may not benefit from your advice until they mature. That doesn't mean you should stop trying. Think of them as tiny seedlings that you nurture to maturity. Your diligence will pay off in the end.
This article was previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.