Animals and young children have quite a bit in common: they can be vulnerable, and need care and protection in an increasingly dangerous world. It is important to teach kids to be kind to animals from the earliest age, and in return, animals can teach them on how to prolong this kindness; amongst other things. Caring for animals is an early start to help with the development of empathy, respect and generosity in children. Read on to find out about a few ways in which animals can bring these qualities out.
- Stories or videos of animals behaving kindly towards each other can be a great catalyst for children. It is heart-warming for adults to read about animals who actively leave their comfort zone to help each other. Just like dolphins that do favours or apes sharing a meal, children can learn a lot by watching these behaviours.
- Countless studies have shown, and are still showing, that having a pet or caring for animals lead to happier, healthier lives. Whether it’s a dog or a cat, caring for an animal can vastly improve the lives of others. Research has also shown that there is a strong correlation between animal caring and empathy building in kids.
- A strong cause such as saving the animals can lead to generosity and respect, on to different causes, like working together to ensure Earth is a clean and fruitful planet to inhabit. Caring about animals will in turn teach children to care about everything else that surrounds them: general health, food, and habitat. Animal sanctuaries and wildlife refuges are great places to start.
- The tone of voice used with pets is mostly what they register when humans talk to them. Through this, they understand love, happiness, anger and even fear. When kids talk back to animals, they will learn to adopt the proper tone of voice for each situation, and that will greatly teach them about control and sympathy. Future great communicators are being shaped!
- Volunteering is one of the best places to start if you want to try and instil compassion in children. By showing it themselves, kids can develop responsible behaviour and understanding of someone else’s needs. Endangered and threatened animals can also bring an extra feeling of realisation, which also helps with empathy and subsequent kindness.
In the end, cuddling up and group hugs are all very relevant to how other animals behave within their own pack – they stick together. And there is nothing better than showing this sort of kindness to children by mimicking what nature does best. Click here to check out our Bucksmore Animal Care course, where students will get the opportunity to see and engage with our extensive range of animals.