There has been a lot of buzz around new regulations on child labor on farms. On our farm the safety of our children is number one. We try to protect them from dangerous situations and teach them how to recognize and avoid dangerous spots too.
One of the best ways to teach safety is to show safety. “Monkey see, Monkey do” We want our kids witnessing us all being safe on the farm. That means they often tag along with us on age appropriate jobs. This week the boys came along with me while I fed calves and heifers.
Jonnie is able to push the feed up for the cows to eat
Erik is able to sweep the heifer feeding area to keep it nice and clean
Both boys enjoy scooping grain out for the calves (What kid doesn’t like scooping things?)
Without too much spilling, Jonnie is able to dump the grain in the feed buckets.
The boys love filling the large pails so that I can give the calves fresh water. I do all the heavy lifting of course.
Grabbing the calf bottles when they are empty is an easy task for little hands.
After a “hard” thirty minutes of work, it is time to play in the extra sand for the cows’ hoop barn.
I love the time I get to spend with our kids on the farm. We talk about so many interesting things and get to enjoy each others company. Bonus is that the kids are learning life skills on how to care for animals, safety, and taking pride in job well done.
I love the fact that you include the children in the workings on the farm. I grew up on a farm and none of us 6 siblings ever got hurt from learning the basics of having a farm.today I am more knowledgable than those who’ve barely seen a live animal and I have a great respect for farmers and parents of small children on a farm.If anyone gives you a hard time about having the children learning that it takes hard work to reap a benefit then you send them my way and I’ll tell them where Adam bought the beer, as we say in Norway,
I love the saying “Tell them where Adam bought the beer” I had never heard of that before. Thank you for your kind comments Lisa!
My two kids both started coming along to the barn with me at the age of six weeks or so. They started by napping in their carseat on the desk in the barn office, graduating to a backpack or a stroller. My daughter is three now and loves to help feed calves. They both love to ride in the tractor while dad feeds TMR. How many kids get to ride in a big tractor? They are learning to be safe around cattle, machinery, and electric fences, though some days can be a little nerve wracking trying to keep them safe. It’s worth having chores take twice as long to let them have fun and tire out!
Becky, I can totally relate. All of our kids spent some time in the baby carrier in the milking parlor. I agree that even though chores take twice as long, it is worth it!
AWESOME! I believe this is the age work ethic starts. Small jobs, they like them and you tell them good job and they want to do more. I believe if you try that same process at 16 it isn’t going to happen. Feeding calves now and avoiding teenagers that won’t leave their video games and the couch later. Nice Job – Mom. PS the boys are cute PSS I am in search of your blog with Do Cows Bite? I used to think they didn’t – but just learned through my husband and a $500 ER bill they do.
Ohh ouch! Did he get too close to a protective mama? I am having a host of issues importing my post from my other blog. That post isn’t showing up for some reason… need to figure it out.
Great to include kids in your daily chore routine. We love to see it! There is nothing better for kids than working & learning with their parents. Some of my best memories of my parents aren’t from taking vacations with them (we never took a vacation), they are from working side by side with them in the fields or in the barn.
Thanks Gordon (and Nancy)!
Loved seeing these pictures. My dad started me out riding in the feed cart when I was a year old. At eight, I helped milk three times a week. I remember it all with great joy, both the work and the feeling of “purpose”. Thanks for sharing your farmers-in-training.
That feeling of “purpose” is important. Right now the kids aren’t really expected to help. Mainly they tag along so I know where they are and keep them safe. When they are old enough to have their first fair calf, they will be expected to work with her and help do chores. Not only are they farmers in training, but world citizens in training.
well said. World citizens.
God bless your lovely family for the great service you render to all who buy your products. I have never been to your great state, but would love to visit if I ever get there.
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