Teaching Your Children to Respect Animals
3 April, 2017
Contribution from freelance writer Jocelyn Brown
It’s important to teach children to have respect for animals because they should have empathy for all living things. If you have a pet in your home, it can also be a safety issue since a pet that is poorly treated may become aggressive. Here are some ways to teach respect for animals to children.
Be a Good Example
It’s important to demonstrate kindness when dealing with pets or other animals. Children learn by observing, and if they see adults treating animals with kindness, they will do the same. Refrain from yelling at your pets, and don’t use abusive language. Your pet doesn’t understand your words, but your child does. Never hit or kick your pet or another animal.
Make Your Pet Part of the Family
If you are bringing an adopted pet into your home, it is important to include your pet in family activities, which will show your children that they are now very much part of the family. Take your pet on family outings if you can. Take your children with you when you take your pet to the vet so they can see that animals need healthcare too.
Supervise Your Pet with Very Young Children
Young children may be unaware of the consequences of their actions, and a pet cannot tell them when a child is hurting them. A young child may squeeze a pet too hard while trying to show how much they love the animal. Just like with playmates, children need to be told to use gentle hands and not hit when they are interacting with a pet.
Let Your Child Help Care for Your Pet
Letting your child help care for your pet will teach them respect, kindness and responsibility for their pet. Make a list of all the responsibilities associated with your pet, and determine which ones the children can manage. Older children can help with this process.
Easy chores that have to be done every day, like feeding and watering, are better for younger children. Older children may be able to help with more difficult chores like grooming. The ability of a child to walk a dog depends on the size of the dog and the area where you live, but younger children may be able to accompany you or an older child on walks until they can manage by themselves.
Encourage Kindness Towards Non-Pets Too
When you are outside with your children, point out wild animals and insects and explain that they are not pets, but still need to be treated with respect. Encourage children to watch, but don’t touch, animals they see in nature, and never to harm an animal on purpose.
Jocelyn Brown is a professional freelancer writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelancing and the versatility it allows her in covering many different topics and themes. When not at work she enjoys running, hikes in the country and making the most of family time.
Photo Attribute – Andrew Branch