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A Family Affair

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Maybe you love tending to your yard. Maybe you hate it. Either way, landscaping and gardening are more fun when you add kids to the mix. Sure, your kids enjoy running around in the back yard, but play things right and you can also teach them to love gardening and to pitch in with pleasure on tasks from planting to weeding. Here are a few hints to help you get the family involved.

Teach your kids to love landscaping and gardening, and you'll not only pass on a great life skills, you'll get some help with the chores! Here's how to make yard work fun for everyone.
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Create a Sense of Ownership

When I was a kid my dad wanted me to help weed our backyard garden. I pitched fits and probably weeded once a year. Now I can't get enough gardening. What's the deal? There's more to it than maturity. Way back when, my dad came up with a landscape design, chose all the plants, and put them in place. It was his garden. If you want your kids to understand the joys of gardening, let them help with design, choose the plants, and put them in place. Then it's their garden. No one wants to see their own garden fail. Just watch how they start pitching in.

Give Age Appropriate Tasks

Some gardening and landscaping jobs are best left to older children. Younger kids may get a kick out of raking for about two minutes, but they just don't have the stamina to really help. Some jobs, like lawn mowing, just aren't safe. Keep your expectations reasonable. You're going to have better luck getting your kids to water the flowers in the cool of morning than getting them to move rocks in the heat of day.

Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

Rolling around on your lush green lawn, smelling your flowers, and eating the juicy fruits and vegetables you've grown are the rewards that come from all your hard work. Take the time to enjoy what you've created with your kids, and they'll understand why gardening and landscaping are worth the effort.

Taking a little extra time to get your kids involved in your landscaping and gardening can benefit both your yard and your relationships.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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