Dirt covered everything. Dried herbs poured everywhere but the pot of water. Herb seedlings “transplanted” by being crushed in chubby little hands. Yep, I’m raising a toddler herbalist. And I couldn’t be happier.
My Little Herbalist
Last night at supper I got the privilege of listening to our two year old give her daddy a step by step description of how we transplanted our herb seedlings into bigger pots yesterday.
She told him about scooping dirt with her own little shovel. About poking holes in the dirt to plant the seedlings. About ripping the poor little Echinacea plant up and pulling all the roots off because she thought it was messy. About what roots are and how they suck water up like little straws. (We learn from our experiences at least!)
This got me thinking about the amazing benefits of involving your family in the learning process of using herbs for your health. I need this list of benefits as much as anyone else. I’m not naturally patient enough and I don’t always love toddler speed, (comparable to a very distractible snail) but I’m working toward including my girls whenever I can.
So what are the benefits of involving your children in working with herbs & enjoying a natural lifestyle?
1. They will grow up thinking that maintaining your health naturally is totally normal.
Our daughter asks for diaper spray when she needs it. She knows that she needs elderberry syrup if she feels sick, or that Mama gets pineapple juice when she is coughing. They love being out in the garden growing food or inside making bread with me. We are grateful that our kids will have an appreciation for the work that it takes to get food on the table. Another example; our toddler knows where her meat comes from . . . She told me on our walk that she “really loves deer because they live in the woods then daddy shoots them, then we cut them up and cook the deer butt.” (Toddlers don’t mince words!) All this is a totally normal for them.
It is amazing how far we as a culture have come from knowing the basics of maintaining our health naturally with home remedies. The girls were watching a Peter Rabbit video the other day and I was thrilled to see that herbs were referenced so naturally in these little stories from the early 1900s. Peter Rabbit knew to eat a bit of parsley to soothe his stomach after he overate in the garden, and the mama rabbit gave her little bunnies some chamomile tea to settle them so they could fall asleep.
I’m hoping that using herbs will be just as normal and natural in my family as we learn together about their amazing abilities.
- It helps your children learn the connection between what we do and how we feel.
While we greatly appreciate having access to knowledgeable doctors when we need them, we are still ultimately responsible for our own health. Letting kids be involved in helping to make remedies (even if they don’t personally use them) and growing herbs helps them understand this. Teaching kids to see the connection between their choices, like choosing to eat some sugary junk food at a party, and the consequences to their health, like catching a cold after eating the junk food, is so important. I want my family to have a clear understanding of how every aspect of our health relates and what we can do to maintain our health ourselves.
- Involving your kids in the work required to grow herbs and prepare remedies, healthy food, etc, can turn tedious chores into fun, engaging activities.
Working through your to-do list is always more interesting when you add some kids to the mix! Watching my little girl get so excited about “tucking the garlic in to grow big and strong” was so sweet. Letting her water the plants instead of just giving them a quick sprinkle as I run by with a load of laundry builds so much excitement about using the herbs later. And they get watered much more often!
Although it may take much longer to accomplish chores, the old saying is true . . . Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime (along with his family!) You’re investing not only in your family’s health now by doing the projects, you are also investing in the health of your kids and grandkids in the future by teaching them what you are learning about herbs.
There can be benefits for us parents too! While I love doing fun Pinteresty projects and crafts specifically for the kids, sometimes work just needs to get done. By involving my kids in chores, they learn important skills, have fun, and I don’t have to take the extra time to prepare crafts and clean them up. My two year old can tell you very happily that we “work first then plaaaaay!” Involving them also improves any time you may have during naps. Instead of saving chores to do during naptime because I can be more efficient, I do them with my girls. Then I can invest the time during nap into something I enjoy doing and be more refreshed when they wake back up.
- Involving your kids makes them more grateful for what we have been given in nature.
Delighting with your little ones over a calendula flower or talking about how amazing it is that God has given us plants to help us feel better when we are sick is an awesome opportunity to help them appreciate the glories of creation and the love of the Creator.
- It gives your children a sense of ownership over your family’s herbal resources.
This makes work like helping in the garden more fun and hopefully makes them more willing to take remedies even if they don’t taste that great (I say this because it motivates me to take things 😉 ) If you ask my daughter about anything around our property, everything is “mine garden” or “mine plants” because she ‘helps’ and knows that her contribution is appreciated. She’s excited to try new food when I remind her that it has the “leaves you picked with mama” in it. She is extra excited to make Daddy snacks or help me cook meals when she knows that she gets to give him something she picked herself.
Everyone with older kids will tell you that the time of having little people in the house will go by way too quickly. I hope this has encouraged you to purposefully involve your kids in your “herbal adventure” and delight in the time you spend working with them as much as possible!
Here are a few other blog posts that you might enjoy . . .
- Using Herbs for Babies & Kids
- What do Herbs have to do with Homeschooling?
- Face your fears to use your herbs
How do you involve your kids as you work to keep your family healthy naturally?