How to teach compassion towards animals to children
Children are intelligent beings who can easily empathize and bond with animals – but, does that mean we have to leave them to their own? No! There is so much as parents, carers, guardians or teachers that we can do to help them develop their compassion and empathy and make sure they understand that animals need love, attention, and to be treated kindly.
Why is it important for children to develop compassion towards animals?
Multiple studies show that children who exhibit compassion and kindness towards animals lead happier and healthier lives. Positive relationships with animals teaches children about communication, responsibility, empathy, and how to care for other sentient beings.
It’s no wonder these are important and necessary skills to become emotionally mindful and intelligent adults. On the other hand, animals benefit from positive relationships, too!
It’s in our hands to create a society that celebrates kindness and compassion.
It all sounds great, but… how can I help my child develop empathy towards animals?
🐷 The most significant tip –which will cause the most impact– is leading by example. Children are like sponges: they absorb the behavior they see from their peers, especially parents and siblings. So make sure your child sees you actively engaging with animals in a positive way and treating them with kindness (it goes without saying, but do not refer to animals as ‘stupid’, ‘useless’, etc. even if you don’t mean it!).
🐮 Another great way is to include your child in grooming your pets, cleaning their litter boxes or manure, feeding them or taking them for a walk. This will help them understand that pets need to be taken care of and are living beings with needs, just like them.
🐻 Showing them picture books with animal protagonists, watching TV shows with animals, and even nature programs will also help their development and to learn more about our animal friends. Why don’t you take them to a nature museum or get them some illustrated books from the local library?
My kid seems to be doing fine with animals… should I still put in the extra effort?
See it as helping your child with their development – granting animals a better life starts at home! It never hurts to guide them as you would guide them with any other learning step. This benefits both the child and any animals they are going to be in contact with. Animals are just as important to our lives as they are to ours, and most times children can develop very close-knit relationships with animals because they represent comfort and safety. Remember that!
As parents, guardians, teachers, or just plain animal lovers, we can do so much to create a kind and compassionate society that treats every life as important and deserving of respect and affection.