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Kids are amazing learners, aren’t they? I mean, from the time they are little, they will often repeat anything and everything they hear. They will mimic what they see on television or in a movie or what they see their older siblings doing. It’s a wonderful time in their world, as everything becomes new and exciting for them.
As they get older, more and more things will “stick” with them in their memories. Things like how to ride a bike, or the multiplication facts, or their home phone number and address. This is really the time to be teaching your kids about your ideals and your convictions about food, medicine and faith. If you want your kids to eat real food, you need to teach them to know the difference between real and overly processed junk. If you want your kids to know why you reach for herbs when the first cough hits over taking them to the doctor, this is the time for them to begin understanding.
How to Teach Your Kids About Natural Remedies
There are a lot of different ways to teach your children about natural remedies.
One of my favorites is obviously “hands on” by foraging. My kids and I forage for a lot of our herbs, such as red clover, dandelion, plantain, and mullein. We get outside, get some exercise and free herbs to boot. To get started foraging, you need a couple things first.
You will want a sound source that will help you identify plants. DO NOT rely on the popular apps to help you identify them, as that has led a lot of people to getting sick. Your best bet is to find someone local to you who is an expert in foraging to take you along a walk. Call your local parks and recreation department to see if they have a listing of experts.
The second best thing is to get a really good book to help you in your identification process. Some of my favorites are Backyard Pharmacy by Rachel Weaver and Medicinal Herbs a Beginner’s Guide by Rosemary Gladstar. Both have full color photos that will aid you successfully identifying your plants. Dandelion and Red Clover are pretty well known and available in most back yards to start.
When you find a plant, make sure to write it in your notebook where and when you got it. What was the location of the plant, and what other plants were around it? This is great for older kids and teens to make a notebooking nature journal as well. You can add the botanical names of the plants, pharmacological actions and benefits of each plant. Add some detailed drawings and you have a great journal!
Respect The Area
You will never want to remove more than 40% of the plant overall and be sure to disturb the surrounding area as little as possible. Follow the guideline of “Leave no trace” that you were even there. Collect what you need, and leave some for others, including bees and butterflies to find. Since you marked it in your notebook, you can always go back later after the plant has regrown some.
Using Games To Teach
The game, Wildcraft is a fun way to help both you and your kids learn about the herbs and natural remedies around you. The game is pretty simple, you learn about 25 different herbs by connecting the “trouble” cards to the icon on the plant cards. You also have “hungry” cards that will help you learn and remember edible plants in the wild. It’s for just about everyone, as no reading is required, and you can make it more difficult by discussing other ways to use the plants on the cards.
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These are just a few simple ways to start teaching your kids about natural remedies.
Allow them to see the plant in its natural habitat if you can, so they can see how all things in nature are connected. It’s a great feeling when your child gets a scrape on his knee and the first thing he does is grab some plantain to put on it. You KNOW they have the idea about natural remedies then!
What are some of the ways you have talked to your kids about natural remedies? Do you forage for your herbs?
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