Keep your grandchildren safe on the farm
farming can be an emotional experience. There is one thing that we can all agree on – the death of even just one child is a horrible tragedy.
Grandparents are vital to the success and safety of their grandchildren. Of course it’s hard to say no when grandchildren jump up and down and plead “Oh please Grandpa! Just one ride in the tractor!” However, your legacy depends on keeping these young people safe from harm. So what can you do as a grandparent to keep your grandchildren safe?
First of all, children aren’t miniature adults. Even the most advanced eight-yearold is still a child. Children don’t have the experience, physical strength or understanding to always make the right choice, handle large equipment or be entrusted with farming jobs. If you’d like to introduce your grandchildren to farming, there are tasks that can teach the fundamentals without endangering their lives. The North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT) is a great tool to determine such tasks.
Establishing boundaries is essential in making sure children understand that farming is an occupation and can be hazardous. It’s not “mean” to tell children that certain areas of the farm are off-limits. Talk to your grandchildren about hazards around the farm, it’s a great learning opportunity for the children and a good reminder for you.
Supervision is key in preventing injuries. Even if you have an established play area for your grandchildren, it is no substitute for supervision. A watchful eye can prevent a tragedy.
Children model the behaviour they see around them. Often grandchildren want to do things just like grandma or grandpa. It’s important that they see you perform tasks safely. If you model safe behaviour, your grandchildren are more likely to behave in safe ways too.
Rethink your traditions. If they’re risky, build new traditions. Talk about farm equipment, show them safety gear, explore the farm together in a safe and controlled way. You don’t have to put a child in a potentially hazardous situation in order to establish traditions with your grandchildren.
Grandchildren are one of life’s greatest joys. Being able to see your grandchildren grow and thrive and enjoy the farm is incredibly satisfying. Take the time to teach age-appropriate tasks, establish boundaries, provide supervision, model safe behaviour and build safe traditions. These steps will not only help keep your grandchildren safe, but will help safeguard your legacy.