You wanted a home — not an apartment or a condo — because you knew that you wanted outdoor space for your family to enjoy. Yet, now that you have a clutch of kids, you find you hardly have time to take care of your yard to ensure its attractiveness and functionality. You could hire a yard service to keep your home’s exterior in shape — but don’t you want your kids growing up with some sense of responsibility for their surroundings? Or you could use these tips and tricks for getting kids involved in yard work.
Unfortunately, convincing kids and teens to get involved with outdoor chores is much easier said than done. Here are a few tips for getting your kids to help you manage the yard, so everyone can enjoy your home’s outdoor space.
The easiest way to get kids to participate in any type of chore is to expose them to that chore from the youngest possible age. When kids grow up completing tasks around the house, they develop a worldview that incorporates chores as an essential activity in life. There are benefits to inviting even the youngest little ones to see and engage with yard work.
You might place infants in wraps or slings while you tidy up outside, and babies can watch you complete yardwork from a picnic blanket on the lawn. Once mobile, toddlers can begin participating in the chores, first by carrying your tools along after you and later by completing small tasks, like sweeping patios, pulling weeds, and washing low exterior windows. Whenever a little one shows interest in a new outdoor job, you should give them information and responsibility appropriate to their age level to empower them to complete new chores which helps when getting them involved in yard work.
Yard work can be more dangerous than other chores around the house because it often involves sharp, heavy, and power tools. It should go without saying that kids should only be trusted with tools and responsibilities that are appropriate to their age level; no toddlers should be running around with pruning sheers. If kids want to use a tool that is beyond their capability, you should explain calmly why the tool is dangerous and when they might be old enough to wield it. You might also give little ones protective equipment, like goggles and gloves, to keep them safe during certain chores when first getting kids involved in yard work.
Kids want to do what adults are doing. If you are relaxing by the pool while you expect your kids to clean the yard, you should recognize that your children are going to be much more resistant to their chores and more interested in swimming and playing like you. Thus, you will need to participate, too, whenever you are getting kids involved in yard work.
Fortunately, working together will reduce the time everyone spends on chores, which means that not only will your kids benefit from seeing you engaging with yard work, but the entire family can complete their responsibilities faster and return to leisure activities sooner.
Invest in Quality Tools
When getting kids involved with yard work, you need to make sure you have the right tools. Work is always much easier when you have the right tools. You should spend some time cataloging the yard instruments you already have and making a list of equipment you and your kids could benefit from. You might consider upgrading certain tools to ensure that your kids can use them safely and effectively; for example, new electric lawn mowers tend to be smaller and lighter in weight, so kids can help with lawn maintenance. You might also allow your kids to pick out their own tools, like trowels and gloves, which could give them a sense of autonomy and personality that drives engagement with yard work.
Make a Game
Time moves faster when everyone is having fun. When getting kids involved in yard work — and to make the chore more engaging for you, too — you might think of different games you can make out of your outdoor tasks.
For example, you might race to collect the most bags of leaves, and the winner gets an extra hour of screen time or some other small reward. You should try to ensure the games are fair for all ages or else make individual games so everyone has a chance to win.
Final Thoughts on Getting Kids Involved in Yard Work
Your yard is part of your home, and your kids need to know how to take care of it. Fortunately, yard work doesn’t have to be a major fight every weekend. With a proactive approach to chores and a few tricks to spark engagement, getting kids involved in yard work doesn’t have to be such a challenge!