Surely, every parent wants their child to practice empathy in every situation. Not only should children be empathetic to others, but to animals as well. Research shows that animals experience emotion. And, children who are gentle and respectful to animals are more likely to be respectful and empathetic to humans. For these reasons, it’s important that parents understand their involvement in teaching children to respect animals.
In this article, we discuss how crucial it is to teach children how to respect animals. And, ways that parents can help to encourage this behavior in their children.
Basically, the main reason you want your kids to respect animals and their sentient emotions is so they may also showcase respect for humans. Think about it – if we can’t respect an animal who cannot tell us how they think or feel, how can we do so for humans who can? Empathy is an important thing for children to develop so they may attempt to understand the feelings of others. This way, they can more effectively communicate themselves and develop meaningful relationships with those around them. Furthermore, teaching children to respect animals can impact the way they view environmental issues. If you want your child to not only be aware but become passionate about managing the health of our planet, respecting animals is a good start!
From an early age, as a parent, you can start to teach your young child the best way to interact with animals. This can include telling him or her to pet animals gently. And, that riding, hitting, and pulling an animal’s tail is not going to be tolerated. To teach this, make sure you correct these behaviors as soon as they happen. When or if it does, simply tell your child “No hitting” or “No pulling”. Then, remind your child to pet the animal gently. Sometimes, it helps to show the child an example of “gentle petting” by petting the animal yourself directly after correcting your child’s behavior.
When children can recognize the specific behaviors of animals, they’re better prepared to respect them. For example, when a child knows that a hiding cat is one that is scared, they will understand that they shouldn’t taunt the cat as means to draw it from its hiding place. Or, if an animal is growling or hissing, when a child knows this is a sign that the animal is upset, they’ll be more willing to leave the animal alone. As a parent, look to identify these behavioral signs yourself. And, while supervising your child and an animal’s encounter, help your child to recognize these signs for him or herself. This way, they can begin to understand when to give an animal its space. And, thus, respect animals more.
A great way to teach children about animals and how to respect them is by observing them in their natural environments. You can practice this right from your backyard. Simply observe and point out animals to your children that you come across during your walks. And, tell your child about how the environment allows for the animals you see to live happy lives. Or, visit sanctuaries that rehabilitate animals so you can talk to your child about the importance of animal protection. In any case, make your animal observations a learning experience by pairing the relevance of both animal environments and our own planet’s health together. When our children understand that animals are important for the health of our planet, they are more willing to protect these animals themselves. And, furthermore, respect their existence.
Young children are sponges for learning. That’s why it’s so important to get them excited about learning from an early age. Environments like early learning facilities can help children learn to respect animals from an early age.
If you’re looking to immerse your child in a learning environment from early on, consider Ivy Prep Early Learning. Each of our facilities offers learning-oriented classrooms for small children before they get to kindergarten! To learn more about our programs and schedule to tour one of our locations, contact us today.