How Young Can Kids Start Mowing The Lawn?

“When can I hand off the lawn mowing chore to my son or daughter?”

We’ve all thought about it.

But when is too young for a kid to start using a lawn mower?

First off: it’s going to depend on if you have a reel mower, a battery electric mower or a high powered Honda self propelled gas lawn mower.

It’s also going to depend on your judgement of your kids maturity and abilities.

There’s 5 year olds riding dirt bikes…

…So surely a lawn mower would be no problems.

Well, today, let’s take a look at how young kids can start mowing the lawn (so you don’t have to).

How Young Can Kids Start Mowing?

With a Reel Mower?

  • 3 – 5 years of age. With supervision there is no reason your son or daughter can’t start trying to use a reel mower as soon as possible.
  • Get them a small version of the real thing so they can reach the handle and so it is lighter.
  • If they insist on helping daddy then why not get them started at 4 or 5 years old.

With an Electric Mower?

  • 6 – 10 years of age. An electric lawn mower is heavier, the handle is taller and it has some noise to it. But there is no reason a 6 – 10 year old can’t give it ago.
  • Heck, there’s 6 year olds taking jumps on dirt bikes. Surely, a lawn mower posses little threat.
  • If your kid is nervous about it then you could always start them with a toy lawn mower so they can walk alongside you as you mow. Then eventually switch them over to the real thing.

With a Gas Mower?

Teenage girl using a gas lawn mower
  • 9 – 12 years of age. A gas mower is loudest and heaviest so you need to judge your child’s strength and confidence. But under supervision they should be having fun mowing the lawn by 10/11 years of age for sure.

With a Riding Mower?

  • 9 – 12 years of age. Start them off riding in your lap while mowing and let them steer to judge their ability. The more flat and open your lawn the sooner you can let your kid mow by themselves.
  • There’s plenty of 10 year olds living on farms driving much bigger equipment than garden tractor lawn mowers.

Some Tips To Get You Started

If your child is using a push mower, it’s important to have them start the mower for you before they do it for themselves. This will help them get used to the noise and the feel of the mower. Once they’re comfortable starting and stopping the mower, they can begin mowing the lawn under supervision.

  • Start by having your child mow a small section of the lawn. This will give them a chance to get used to the mower and build their confidence.
  • As they become more comfortable, they can gradually increase the size of the area they are mowing.
  • Be sure to supervise your child, and provide them with plenty of breaks and positive feedback. It is best if you walk behind them for the first few goes.
  • If possible, have your child mow when the grass is dry. This will make it easier for them to push the mower.

7 Essential Safety Tips For Kids Mowing The Lawn

The most important aspect of teaching your kid to mow the lawn is teaching them how to do it safely.

To start, teach them to take a few minutes before the job to think through what they need to do. Having a short checklist is crucial.

Here is a 7-step checklist to go through with your child:

  1. Always wear closed-toe shoes. Make sure they are wearing closed in shoes and not bear feet or sandals. Small branches or rocks can fly out from under the mower deck and do some serious damage to their feet. Closed in shoes will help protect from this.
  2. Always wear long pants. For the same reason as wearing closed in shoes, you will want to make sure your son/daughter is wearing pants to protect their legs from flying debris.
  3. Always wear hearing protection. With either an electric or gas mower hearing protection is important – especially at a young age. You don’t want them to experience hearing damage.
  4. Be sure to stay hydrated. Kids often don’t know how to regulate their fluid levels as well as adults. So be sure to get them sorted with a water bottle and have drink it as they go.
  5. Avoid mowing in the heat of the day, and take breaks often. Mowing at high noon is not ideal – even for adults. But if you must then take breaks often if you have a huge lawn to mow.
  6. Never leave the mower running unattended. Especially if you a hilly backyard you never want to leave the mower running unattended it could start rolling and smash into stuff.
  7. Check the area before you start mowing. Make sure the lawn is clear of debris like tennis balls, rocks and toys. You don’t want to damage these vital object 😉

By following these safety tips, your child can mow the lawn safely and enjoy this fun summer activity.

Wrap Up

The sooner you get your kids used to the lawn mower the sooner they can start using it themselves.

There really is no reason not to have them using a reel mower as soon as they can walk. Get them started with a toy model so it is light and their size.

Further Reading

  1. Continuing on the topic of a lawn mower being loud and kids and adults should wear hearing protection when using them – let’s take a further look how many decibels lawn mowers are.
  2. When getting your son or daughter started with a lawn mower be sure you are not handing them a crappy mode. Get them started with the best lawn mower for the price.
  3. Is mowing the lawn good exercise? We took a look how many calories you can burn mowing.

About your guide: Jamey Krames is a NALP certified Lawn Care Manager and a Mechanical Engineer by trade. He has been writing about power equipment for 12 years and has been quoted in NYTimes, Popular Mechanics, Wirecutter, HowStuffWorks, iFixit, MSN, Realtor.com, and more. He owns 194 acres in the country (and mows 50 acres of it) but lives on 1/4 acres in the suburbs. He currently owns and uses 6 different lawn mowers and has hands-on tested nearly 30.