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ANIMAL THERAPY: Whether it is the farm dog or livestock, kids have something to engage with during self-isolation.

Farm kids better prepared to self-isolate

Parents relax; raising your kids on the farm is helping them not only survive, but also thrive.

Let’s be honest. When schools decided to close their doors in the wake of the coronavirus, every farm kid in the nation was cheering. Why? Because what better place is there to be quarantined than down a dirt road, on a farm and in a barn. They’ve practically been raised for such a time as this.

Here are five ways farm kids are prepared for self-isolation:

1. Open spaces. Farm kids are not restricted to 6 feet of separation. Shoot, they’ve got 60 acres. For those of you helping your kid do math, that is more than 2.6 million square feet with which to roam. They know how to keep their distance.

2. Secure sites. Farm kids have more than one safe space at home. Tired of the house? Head to the barn. Don’t want to hang with the livestock? Visit the tractors in the machine shed. The best part, as parents, we have more places to socially distance our kids from each other or even ourselves should this virus persist. Our kids find safe places on their farm.

3. Food and supplies. Farm kids aren’t stressed about going to the store. They know where their food comes from — the pasture to the meat locker to the freezer. Or straight from the chicken house to the refrigerator. And we all know that farm kids save on toilet paper — ever heard of the farmer’s blow? Yeah, my husband swears it’s a reliable way to clear the nostrils. He’s taught a few young lads the technique.

And as for water? Just lift the spigot handle near the barn and there you have it — water straight from the well. In some dire cases, these industrious kids will just drink from the creek. Hey, at least they are not clearing out the store shelves.

4. Unplugged and entertained. Making mud pies or chucking manure patties, either way farm kids know how to make their own fun. They aren’t tethered to the TV. No, they are out picking up sticks and hitting rocks. They drive the UTV across the pasture to kingdoms they create in their minds or to a deer stand that doubles as a treehouse. Farm kids are innovative and creative.

5. Socially engaged. While many farm kids do not have high-speed internet to play Fortnite with their friends, they fill the void by visiting the livestock in the barn or pasture. Animals just listen. They don’t pass judgment over our fears and insecurities. Livestock don’t offer advice. They don’t talk back. They are just there. Sometimes that is the best medicine in times of insecurity.

However, the greatest social engagement for farm kids is one they’ve come accustom to being around for them day in and day out — you, their parents. As a farm family you have worked together, played together, succeeded together and endured loss together. You’ve seen sunny days and dismal nights. Still, you are together. Keep that strength during these trying times.

If you fear the unknown and question if you are handling everything right, rest assured, you’re doing great. How can I know that? Well, just peek outside the window.

Some of you may catch a glimpse of mischief on your son’s face when he decides the field is his bathroom. Some may see your daughter carrying a baby bird that needs your help to survive.

But all of you should take a moment to watch your kids run in the open air, free from the worries of this world, smiles on their faces, full of joy. You have prepared them to endure whatever this life throws their way. There is no greater gift than raising kids on the farm.

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