The unlikely link between permaculture design & getting your kid off screens

The unlikely link between permaculture design & getting your kid off screens

It is safe to assume that parents, on the whole, strive to grow healthy and blooming children. As in parenting, so in permaculture – a philosophy that aims to mimic nature and create high yield closed system gardens.

Organic garden design is all around us. The greatest designer is nature, and sometimes we help out by creating our own habitats within which nature can step in and thrive.

There are a few basic steps to successful organic garden design, and whilst applying them to our own rented urban space the other day, it occurred to me that they are just the same kinds of things I would consider to unravel and improve a conundrum with my child.

True, it seems like a tenuous link, but just go with this for a moment and I’ll show you what I mean. Permaculture design and soulful parenting principles do overlap somewhere around where we collaborate with nature to create optimal results for all involved.

Design Principles

The five basic permaculture design principles are:
1 – Observe and analyse
2 – Wish list and base plan
3 – Concept design and reality check
4 – Detail design, and finally
5 – Review and adjust the design.

I have observed that my 8-year-old son often protests that he doesn’t want to finish watching his half-hour of television. This is something I have analysed to be a natural result of him sitting on the couch and switching off. Top of my wish list is that he turns it off when his time is up when I ask him to.

The concept that I have designed, based on the advice of another (very clever) mum, is that if we have a routine whereby instead of him going grumpily from couch to homework he takes a bike ride in between and releases some pent up energy, gets his blood moving, and gets outside to refresh his state of mind, he then is happy to sit down with some afternoon tea and get his homework done.

The details of this plan involve letting the boy know that this is the plan from now on, having the afternoon tea set up and ready to go when he returns from his bike ride and roughly aligning the time I’m helping him with his homework with the time I’m preparing dinner. The review and adjustment of the design will happen over time.

You see?

And I’ll tell you a little secret: you may find this works with grown-ups too.


Alena Turley is an Australian mentor for mothers. Founder of the pioneering blog, the Soul Mama Hub, her wellbeing membership offers a powerful pathway for mothers ready to go from over-extended, stuck in the daily grind, to empowered, inspired and energised so they can become the CHANGEMAKERS they dream of being.

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