It's always great having a little help outside from time to time, and even when 'little' is the operative word, both in terms of the helper's size and their real input, nothing beats spending a day digging, planting, and pruning with the most precious people in our lives. But have you ever wondered just how much good it's doing them? As grandparents, we may consider it a job well done when the overall goal of the day has been accomplished- say, perhaps, uprooting a tree and repositioning it elsewhere- yet less of us realise that we are actually having a hugely beneficial impact on our grandchildren's future life prospects. For one thing, it gets them away from those cursed screens, which in turn encourages real world communication, one particularly important skill to master. Add to this the fact that, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, children perform better in school when they get out in the garden, and show a tendency to eat healthier after growing veg for themselves, and it seems there's quite a big argument for calling in some little helpers.
RHS isn't the only body to have found similar results. Get Fruved, a campaign in the U.S. involving a number of colleges, looked to encourage healthier eating amongst students, and also conducted a study. It found that those who had done some gardening as children were likely to be eating more fruit than those that had not. Meanwhile, across a few state lines, Texas A&M University conducted a survey of children under 12 who were actively taking part in gardening- either at home, in the community, or at school- and concluded that they exhibited higher levels of self-esteem and reduced stress levels. It's all the evidence you should need for planning the next day's work out back with the little tykes. And this is before we mention the obvious emotional upsides- the more moments we spend together the greater the bond, and, hopefully, the more nurtured they will feel. And that can only ever be a good thing in their overall social, mental, and physical development