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Plants and Mental Health Awareness for Children
Growing up with plants and working with the soil has always helped me stay connected to earth, that feeling of your feet on the mud and velvety leaves of grass. Still remember how I marveled at watching a lemon seed grow into a plant (with patience); whether it bore a fruit or not is another story – and yet another learning that lay hidden in plain sight. There is a certain sense of calm that plants brought to my life, even as a kid and I saw the same sense when I watched my nephew and niece out in the garden with their parents and grandparents.
Without a doubt, our generation has come to understand more and more about why returning to these roots on earth are so important, in this fast paced urban lifestyle, and for kids where we are putting more pressure on them than ever.
Quite evidently, growing a plant and gardening are great ways to improve not only physical health, but also mental health for kids and here is why:
The coming together of five senses: An important practice in mindfulness involves something called as the “Five Senses Exercise”, in which the goal is to calm the mind by using our five senses to focus on the environment instead of our spiralling thoughts. What better way to practice this mindfulness than to feel the soil in your hands, smell the leaves and flowers, hear the buzzing bees, see the leaves growing everyday and taste the leaves, flowers or fruits of your toil (if they are edible of course).
Feeling of responsibility: As kids, you could count the number in just one hand, of the things that give them a sense of responsibility. At least, we believe so and hope it is not more. Being responsible for the growth of a living being like a plant is one of those few things. There is a great sense of achievement that comes with it too when a kid sees how a plant s/he planted has come to being, with flowers, fruits or shiny new unfurling leaves. Not to mention, the need for calm and patience needed to know how Nature takes its own sweet time and there is no need to rush.
Strengthening family bonds: Countless evenings that I have spent planting or watering the garden with my sisters or mom, or watching my nephew and niece do the same with their parents and grandparents reminds me how much digital detoxification it gives by bringing together the family to play in the lawn. A great sense of teamwork, that comes with it too. Mom digging the soil, me planting the seeds. And all of us growing together.
So, pick up that spade, smell the earth and just have fun with the kids. 🙂
At Planteka, we care about mental health awareness and how plants could be therapeutic for us. Do you have a project related to this, where we could collaborate? Let us know here. 🙂