Tips for Homesteading With Small Children

Homesteading with babies or toddlers can certainly seem intimidating, especially if you are off-grid in any way. Having babies and toddlers is intense enough in a house in the suburbs with running water and electricity; throw limited or no electricity and low-tech plumbing and that’s definitely many parent’s nightmares.

While homesteading with small children can certainly be challenging, it’s definitely not impossible. Just think of all the pioneers and settlers throughout the ages that have raised their families under rough conditions.

Here are a few simple tips to make raising little ones on the homestead slightly less intimidating:

1. Embrace the mess

What doesn’t kill you, boosts your immune system! With little kids, mess happens. Diapers, spilled food, germ-covered objects inserted into little mouths; a great percentage of parenting in general contains a whole lot of “yuck”, and you simply have to get used to it, and trust your child’s, and your, immune system much more. And on a homestead, when you add animals into this messy equation, there are going to be messes, there are going to be germs, and you’re going to have to learn to live with it. This is not to say you shouldn’t do what you can to keep things clean, you absolutely should, it just means that you won’t be living in a germ-free, Lysol-clean environment. There will also be lots and lots of dirt. Kids will get dirty, their clothes will get dirty, you will get dirty, but you will learn to cope with it, and by the time your kids are bigger, you’ll probably be very efficient at getting stains out and keeping things sanitary!

2. Keep them secure

Babyproofing a homestead is no joke, but it also doesn’t have to be too complicated. Wearing babies is a great option for safe morning chores, and keeping them in only certain areas where they are easy to supervise and keep contained will reduce headaches. Toddlers, especially when mobile, are able to get into all kinds of things, and odds are, you’ll have plenty of areas with sharp tools you’d like to keep them out of, so just as you corral your animals, corral your littles!

3. Put them to work!

Ok, so there isn’t a lot of work that babies and toddlers can really do, but anything they can get involved with and help out with, let them! They’ll have an insatiable curiosity anyway, so you might as well put it to good use. Little ones can throw feed for animals, carry small buckets of water, ring dinner bells, maybe even pull weeds or harvest from the garden. Get them their own small tools or pails so they can feel included with what you’re doing. Besides, soon enough they’ll be able to help out with real work, might as well start them out young!

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