Farming with kids - A FarmHer Answers
I am now a mother of 6, and yes every time I say it I always think that couldn’t possibly be right. It always feels more like 3 since we have 3 older and then the 3 younger. My oldest is 18 so we’ve always lovingly called him “the practice child”. I was finishing collage and my husband was working on a ranch near by full time so he had to come with us. We learned from the very beginning that children (at least while they are small) want to be with you and learn by mimicking. We used hiking backpacks so he came and would either be on our back or sitting outside the fence watching as Dan was working cows, he would ride in the tractor to feed hay or bale it. I was working at a fabric store so he was on my back all day. On the weekends, he would only nap in his backpack. He just came with us. Our situation changed over the years when the other kids can along as I was able to be home but, they still had to be involved. I started selling at farmers markets, so our vehicle was then used as a playpen, this was our normal. They came with us, they learned how to entertain themselves and it just meant always having a cooler with snacks and drinks and a bag with toys to change out. Now that we have the younger ones ages 3 & 1&1) I’m relearning all those things. I’m the full time farmer and my older kids are such good help with them. But now that I garden also it means little hands want to help with that work also. My 3 yrold can help if you show him what you want done. Gathering eggs means you have a towel in the bottom of his basket, he gets his own bucket to haul feed, his own bowl to harvest veg in. Planting seeds, well it’s not going to be pretty but he’s learning. He can plant beans and peas and corn (bigger seeds). While planting my twins get all the empty plastic pots (well a few) and they sort them, out dirt In plants whatever. They want to please, they want to learn. So take advantage of it, it will take longer. But if you fight it, it will be worse. We canned the other day and gave all 3 little ones a big box of a few cucs we weren’t going to use. They took them out, they put them back, they tased them, they threw them, they sat on them. It entertained them most of the whole time. It’s not easy, it’s actually really hard, and it’s always dirty (I usually don’t have many clothes to pass on after my kids) but they wash, they learn, and you can relearn wonderment from them if your able to stop and watch. As long as you have a safe environment free ranging children learn a lot from what we do and expose them to.