It’s an understatement to say that a lot is going on in the world right now. It’s the first week of September, which means kids are starting school again, in-person or virtually. Your kids may be experiencing a lot of stress right now, and as a parent, it can be difficult to help them cope.
A few weeks ago, we shared a story on our social media about a Louisville teen who has been keeping bees as a way to earn money for school and to improve his mental health. Keith A. Griffith III began beekeeping two years ago with his uncle. Keith has always been an animal lover with a natural curiosity for music, sports, and above all, nature. After his parents were incarcerated he lost interest in school, his hobbies, friends, and soon became depressed.
Once he started helping with his uncle’s bees, Keith had a new spark of curiosity. He loved learning about honey bees and how they all work together to keep the colony thriving. Now Keith raises bees and sells their honey to raise money for school. His grades have improved and he teaches his friends about bees. He has even written a book! Honey Bees & Beekeeping: A Mental Health Miracle is available on Keith’s website, Beeing2gether. You can find out more about his story there!
Seeing Keith’s story got us thinking. If working with bees could help Keith’s mental health, his grades, and his relationships, then perhaps learning about bees could help other kids, too. At Beepods, we are all about Beekeeping for the Bees. But today, we want to invite you to try Beekeeping for the Kids.
Kids are naturally curious about the way the world works around them. However, both kids and bees are susceptible to stressors in their environment. For example, now that some schools have implemented virtual learning due to stay-at-home orders last spring, kids are having a difficult time transitioning to virtual learning. It’s something they aren’t used to. When a colony goes through a Varroa mite infestation, the bees become stressed. In turn, they produce less honey which means there is less food to feed the brood which means fewer healthy workers.
Teaching kids how to navigate the stressors in their life is a great way to help them focus on school and their relationships. That’s where bees come in. Bees have been helping people cope with stress and depression for decades. The Manchester Veteran Affairs Medical Center in New Hampshire has a beekeeping program to help treat veterans with PTSD. The bees help them take their minds off their stressors. From listening to the buzzing to simply watching the bees fly in and out of the hive, veterans benefit greatly from bees.
This can help kids too. Around a hive, kids will learn how to stay calm and take deep, even breaths to prevent agitating the colony. They will learn how to move with a purpose and understand how a colony works together to thrive. Above all, it will keep their minds focused on something that is fun and educational, and off of the challenges facing our world. That’s not to say that those things aren’t important, but we all need a mental break to help us stay healthy.
We want what is best for the bees. That’s why we have a full library of educational resources you can use to help teach your kids about bees. Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, “these easy-to-use tools can help the kids in your life adjust to stressful times.
Lesson plans provide activities for grades K-12 and include topics such as:
Print off these step-by-step lesson plans and activities and get your kids engaged and excited to learn!
If you have a Beepod, you’ll notice that it has a built-in bee viewer so kids can look inside the hive and see how the colony functions. Kids can also help you with inspections or watch the bees fly in and out of the hive as many veterans do.
If you’re a teacher looking into a Beepod for your school, get in touch with us so we can help you apply for a grant so you can bring bee education to your classroom. This is a fantastic hands-on tool to teach your students valuable lessons.
If you’d like a Beepod for your yard you can find out more information here. A Beepods Beekeeping Complete System is a great hobby for you and your family. You’ll learn the importance of pollinators in your daily lives, you’ll learn how to harvest your own honey, but most importantly, you’ll have a hobby that is great for you and your family’s mental health.
If you don’t have a Beepod, that’s okay! There are plenty of resources on Beepods Lab that don’t require a Beepod. For example, the Bee Educated Backyard Scavenger Hunt that will have your kids searching the yard for bees. They’ll still need to practice moving with a purpose, staying calm, and taking deep breaths when approaching bees. These are all methods for achieving a physiological state of calm and enhancing their focus.
We have plenty of more tips, tricks, and videos on all of our social media platforms. But the best stuff can be found on Beepods Lab.
Children’s mental health can often be overlooked. However, protecting your mental health and the mental health of those around you is more important than ever. Take a lesson from the bees. When the colony takes care of each other, the colony does well. They produce brood, beeswax, propolis, and honey, which keeps their colony running like a well-oiled machine! When the bees are under stress the health of the colony begins to fail. While bees have developed methods to combat stressors, sometimes those methods aren’t enough, and they need help from you. The same goes for kids.