Keeping Kids Safe on the Homestead

Sow the seeds of safety and awareness in children to reap a happy, healthy farm life.

| September/October 2020

Photo by Janet Horton

There’s simply no place like a homestead for a growing youngster. It’s a giant classroom, where kids learn about responsibility and hard work. They also learn real-world skills, such as earth stewardship, how to care for living creatures, and the ins and outs of growing their own nutritious food. Kids delight in the little, everyday moments on the farm. While picking fresh berries, running in sunshine, and caring for resident animals, however, we want to ensure that little ones are safety-aware. Kids don’t always have the best judgment about how to handle new things. Fortunately, they’re usually willing to learn.

General Farm Safety

First off, you must actively work at making your homestead safer. Some things may be out of your control, but you can develop an eye for recognizing potential hazards. Do what you can to childproof as much as possible.

To safely integrate kids into the happenings of your homestead, start small. For example, involve them in caring for a flock of chickens. (Let them pick out one or two birds of their own. They’ll love it.) Other ideas include feeding a family pet, tending a garden, raising a butterfly cocoon, and making homemade ice cream. If it’s something they enjoy, it’ll fuel their motivation to help with other ventures.

Photo by Janet Horton

Teach children where your property’s boundary falls, where it’s safe for them to venture, and how to find their way home. Even the wooded “back acre” of our 5-acre place seemed forbidding when I was a youngster. I was glad to learn that the property was completely fenced in, so all I had to do was follow a fence back to the barn.

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