In follow up to our recent post about keeping kids safe while involving them in farm life, we wanted to provide an illustration of what this means in practice.
Recently you may have noticed Karen’s Instagram post about picking apples from a tractor bucket at our parents yard. Here are some of the factors that were considered before any apples were picked:
Experience level of the tractor operator and familiarity with the specific piece of equipment
Supervision (both proximity - Karen was also in the bucket - and number of supervisors)
Age and abilities of children (this was the first year)
Alternative ways to accomplish the job (ladder)
Length of time required to complete the task
Ease of children leaving the task before it is complete
Interest and engagement in the task
Each day, farmers and farm extenders take numerous factors into account as they decide when and how to involve their children in farm-related activities. This is a situation by situation analysis, because even for the same task there are variables that change from day to day. Of course, each child is also unique, so it is important to consider both the age and experience/exposure of the individual children. To reiterate, it is always the adult’s responsibility to assess the situation and make a safe plan.
When we approach our safety plan from the perspective of wanting to involve our children and young people, we can safely teach the next generation the skills and the attitudes of farm life. We can engage in authentic conversations about when and how to teach our kids the lessons of farming.
Feel free to comment below and share ideas of how you have modified farm tasks to involve your kids.