Kids innately have an attraction
and a desire to care for animals. Given this foundation, there are many ways in which we can instill an even greater love and respect for animals in our children.
Not only does this compassion and care for creatures benefit the animals of the world, but it also builds character and helps our children develop into well-rounded human beings that approach the world with a concern and respect for others. This love for animals actually teaches kids how to treat one another
, and how to be integral components of society.
So how can we foster this love for animals? There are a number of different ways, here are just a few:
Help your child extend mercy and care for animals that have been injured or that need a home. There are plenty of worthwhile organizations that would love to have extra hands helping out!
2. Model empathy
Children learn by example. By modeling care and concern for how animals might feel in a number of situations, you will notice that your kids will begin to express similar concerns. Avoiding negative talk about disliking different animal species, and ensuring that we are not speaking poorly about our own pets at home is also an important component in modeling compassionate behavior.
“Teaching kindness and respect for animals is the first step in teaching children empathy.” -Peta Kids
Find books with animals as main characters. Kids will identify with the issues and feelings that the animals express, and will feel a care and concern for the characters in the book. Additionally, there are many books in which animals can be the ‘helper’. This shows children that animals can provide a depth to a relationship that extends beyond a unilateral caretaker/provider human-animal relationship. Animals can provide friendship and companionship to people as well.
4. Provide Exposure
Instilling a love of animals in your kids means showing respect for all animals. This goes beyond common household pets, and includes bugs, wild animals and all other living creatures. Visiting a farm or a zoo, going on a nature walk, or going bird watching are all great ways to expose children to animals beyond what they might typically have exposure to.
5. Support animal-friendly companies
Research companies with your kids to find those that treat their animals humanely, that avoid product testing on animals, and that support animal organizations and rescues.
In taking the time to help, being a positive role model, and in supporting others who treat animals with kindness and compassion, we can be instrumental in really fostering a true love for animals
in our kids.
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