“I find my greatest happiness in thinking of those days in Homestead when I labored to bring a thing to perfection entirely by myself. In the evenings, I would go into the hills and look down on my work, and I knew that it was good, and my heart was elated.”
— Charles M. Schwab
Isn’t this the dream that we all have when we start out homesteading?
I know it was for myself and my husband.
But getting our children to share our zeal and excitement is not always an easy task. This is a large struggle that my husband and I faced when we turned from our city lives and started chasing our dreams of homesteading.
So today I want to share with you a few ideas that might help your kids come around to your ideas of homesteading and want to be more involved in the process.
Here we go—
1. Cater To Their Interest
When we began homesteading, I had the challenge of getting 3 boys all about 7 years apart that were electronic junkies, to set that mindset free and embrace ‘the simple life.’ Ha!
But I learned I had to find a way to make it interesting for them at each stage that they were in.
I put my youngest to work setting seeds and harvesting vegetables. He loves pizza so we came up with the idea of letting him grow his own pizza ingredients from seeds. We planted them apart from the rest of the garden, and they were his responsibility. He was a preschooler at the time and did really well!
He was a preschooler at the time and did really well!
Next, I had a preteen who loved the indoors and at times probably thought we were trying to make him have a nervous breakdown when we traded his Xbox time with time outdoors.
But we were able to bring him around by letting him help raise small animals. We actually bought some baby chicks and ducklings and they were his responsibility. He loved caring for them because they were so small (and cute!) But also, he was very proud when they grew to full-size healthy birds.
Finally, I had a teenager that was just starting to drive.
He embraced the “look” of a country boy quite easily. (It made great selfies!) But he wasn’t really into all of the planting and harvesting stuff. So we put him on a tractor and put him to work to help build our homestead.
He fell in love quickly.
So you have to find what will peak their interest and plug them into that part of homesteading. They will be much more pliable and have a better attitude about helping with the homestead if they have a part of homesteading that really strikes their fancy.
2. Let Them Get Their Hands On Equipment
It doesn’t matter if you have boys or girls, all kids like to use equipment.
Who am I kidding? Adults do, too!
So put a tool in your child and/or children’s hands. This not only educates them on things that they will certainly use in the future but also it gives them a sense of involvement.
This is an adorable gardening tool set for kids:
Next, for your preteen children, you can put them to work with using a hammer and other small hand tools that will allow them to help with building projects around the homestead.
Finally, with your teenage children, you can give them bigger equipment to help with such as a tractor.
So if you want your kids to love and be a part of your homestead, give them a tool so they can help and be excited about it.
3. Make It Educational
When we began homesteading we had no idea all of the changes that would occur in our lives. One of the decisions we made along this journey was to homeschool our children. Our oldest made the decision for himself but our younger two are very energetic little boys that prefer a different learning environment and have thrived with our homeschooling approach.
So homesteading really caught their attention because it is a hands-on learning opportunity for them. And anything that allows them to learn without sitting still for hours on end, they are certainly for.
Therefore, homesteading can be a great way for your kids to learn.
If you have children that are more focused on science then let them test the acidity of your soil with a simple soil test kit. If you have a child that is more artistic then put a camera in their hand or an easel and encourage them to embrace all of the beauty that is found on a homestead.
And finally, if you have a child that is more focused on language arts then give them a journal and allow them to journal their experience on the homestead. It would be a great way to keep important family memories that they will want as they grow up.
So there are multiple ways to make your child’s homesteading experience a pleasant one and one that they find informative and intriguing.
4. Cut Them Loose In The Kitchen
I have been using this method lately with my preteen. He feels very accomplished when he helps prepare a meal. He loves the fact that he is helping me out and also that he is able to serve his family.
In his mind, it is a silent way of saying, “I love you!”
I love when we raise our own meats and vegetables. And then I am able to bring my kids in the kitchen to show them how to preserve them and prepare them. This is a way that they get to get their hands on the actual product of our homestead.
It shows them why we work so tirelessly the way that we do.
Not to mention, it prepares them for the future.
Gender doesn’t matter. Each child needs to know how to prepare their own meals and save their own food. Why? Because it helps them to save money when they are older. It also teaches them to be independent which one day they will need to be.
5. Let Them Be Small Entrepreneurs
Okay, let’s be real for a moment. Money isn’t everything, but if you need a carrot waved in front of your kids’ faces sometimes teaching them how to monetize the homestead is just the way to get them involved.
So we know that we can make money on our homestead in multiple ways such as selling eggs, raising and selling animals, and selling garden extras.
Now, if you put your kids in charge of some of these functions and allow them to earn money for their work then not only are you teaching them about homesteading.
But you are also teaching them how to make money in a (now) non-traditional way which will prove itself invaluable as they grow up.
So if you are struggling to find a way to get your kids involved around your homestead, don’t fret. As soon as they learn that they can have their own business at their young age, I’m sure a few ears will perk up and some hands will be ready to work.
6. Give Your Littles A ‘Job’
I often feel bad for my little boys because I feel like they get left out because they are smaller. Let’s be real, I’m not putting a 5 and 10-year-old out on a tractor.
Maybe when they are a little older but not now.
So when Dad is outside working with our oldest son, I always try to find my ‘littles’ a job that they can handle around the homestead too. This makes them feel more involved and included plus they like to know they are helping.
But maybe you aren’t sure of good jobs to give your smaller children. Well, there is always plenty to be done around a homestead for all ages.
So if you have smaller children, give these chores a try so they can help, feel included, and stay busy around the homestead:
- Collect eggs
- Sweep out the barn
- Help pull weeds
- Help pick vegetables and fruits
- Feed smaller animals
- Water smaller animals
Those are a few good places to start.
As your children begin showing you what they are comfortable with doing, I’m sure you’ll find a few unique tasks around your homestead that they are more than capable of doing.
7. Let Go Of Your Sanity
I am someone that loves order.
To say I am a ‘neat freak’ is probably an understatement.
However, when you have kids on a homestead things can get a little messy and little less efficient than what you might hope.
But the best thing you can do is simply let go of your sanity and embrace the chaos. You want to know why? Because that is life. Those are the memories your kids will remember.
So yes, your kids may not plant the seeds just right…
Your kids may not harvest vegetables just right…
…Or your kids may even have a way of undoing a job that you just finished. (Ahem! I’ve been there.)
But that’s okay.
Things always have a way of getting done. You stressing over each thing will only make things less fun for your children and give you high blood pressure.
And I know some of you might be thinking, “What?!?” But honestly, I once was there. I once freaked out when I didn’t stay on schedule. Between homesteading, home schooling, and working from home you’d think I’d have to keep a pretty tight schedule.
But I don’t. I’ve learned not to do that; it makes life miserable.
I may not get everything done as quickly as I’d like each week but it all somehow still gets done.
So just remember to let go and enjoy your homesteading life with your children. This is all part of building a life one step at a time.
8. Start Them Young
If I had one thing I would go back and change in my life, it would be that I would have embarked on my homesteading dream earlier. But I didn’t so I didn’t have the opportunity to start all of my children out as early as I had hoped on this homestead journey.
So if you are a homesteader with very small children, strap them to you and roll onward with your dream. There are so many options with play pens, strollers, and baby carriers. Put them to use.
Put them to use.
And I know how difficult it can be to get things done with very small children in tow. But remember to see my last point in those stressful moments.
Because truthfully, when your children grow up around the homestead life, it is normal to them. And they will embrace it the same way my kids embraced the life of grocery shopping and video games. It is just about what children grow up around as to what they deem as the norm.
9. Let Them Provide For The Family
One of the biggest ways that I was able to get all three of our boys into homesteading was through hunting and butchering animals. I know, there is something about boys where they love guns, blood, and guts.
Not all of our boys are old enough to handle a gun. But they are old enough to learn hunter safety. And they are old enough to watch and learn about butchering an animal.
And I want to hit on the fact that through my own experience, none of my children have been scarred by this in any way. I know a lot of people fear that kids seeing a dead animal will somehow harm them.
I am not a psychologist but my boys have a greater appreciation of food and life after seeing what it takes for us to have meat. They want to help more with our animals that we raise for meat. And they also have a great appreciation for the effort it takes to fill a freezer with meat.
So you can use your own judgment on this particular option.
But I know how much it has allowed our boys to embrace our homesteading life and grow in knowledge and respect for life.
10. If It’s Broke, Let Them Fix It
If you live on a homestead then you know how stuff is constantly needing to be fixed. For instance, I was sitting in church a few Sundays ago. I usually don’t have my phone with me but my husband was serving on the church’s security team so I usually keep my phone close by when he does that.
Well, my phone suddenly vibrated and it was a text message from my mother-in-law telling me I had to come home because our goats were running lose.
I, unfortunately, had to leave service so I could come home and fix a hole in the fence that our Billy goat had decided to make. Then I had to patch a hole in our goat cabin (they are a little spoiled!) that he had decided to make by using his horns to pry a board loose.
You have to be handy in repairs and maintenance when homesteading.
So why not include your kids in this process?
You are not only giving them a sense of purpose around the homestead but also teaching them valuable skills that they will need later in life. Everyone needs to know how to make repairs because that is one thing we can always bank on, things will break throughout life.
Well, there you have it folks.
Those are my 10 methods to help get your children involved around your homestead and to happily partake in your homesteading dream.
Now, don’t get discouraged if your kids still are a little reluctant (especially if they are older.) It is a bit of culture shock when you’ve lived most of your life based around convenience. But with time and patience, hopefully they’ll come around and realize how great this life can be and how invaluable the skills you learn through homesteading really are.
But now, I’d love to hear from you all.
Tell me, how did you or do you get your kids involved around your homestead? How did you help them to love the homesteading life?
We love hearing from you guys. So please leave your comments below.