October 23, 2014

Teaching Children Kindness towards Animals

Teaching kids to be kind to animals is as imperative as teaching them empathy, manners and sharing. While loving animals can come naturally to most children, they do not, in most situations know how to behave around them. Children can be cruel to animals which is why it is important to show and teach them on how to respect and be kind towards these four legged creatures.

How many of us have seen children pelting stones at stray dogs or cats? Is that innate behavior? No. They are only doing what they are told by their superiors or by what they have seen them do. Countless times I have seen parents hitting an animal or encouraging their kids to throw stones at strays. Why? Because they were taught to do the same themselves or because they don't consider animals having any feelings at all.

One of the essentials of teaching kids manners should include teaching them kindness towards animals. Any parent or grownup failing to teach their child a simple basic lesson of kindness towards animals fails as a parent. You cannot expect a child to love animals if you do not show them how.

Why teach your child compassion towards animals?

The answer is simple. Because you want them to be good humans. It's a known fact that children who are taught to show compassion and empathy towards animals early in their life learn the valuable lesson of kindness towards fellow human beings as well. In teaching your child to be kind towards these voiceless creatures, you are helping them become better people in the long run. Decades of research has proved that a child's attitude towards animals can predict his/her future behavior.

What you can do?

  • Teach by example. Show your kids how to treat animals with kindness. Teach them how to pet and feed animals.
  • Don't abuse an animal. Don't hit a stray or call them stupid names just to vent your anger.
  • Adopt or rescue a pet. Adopting a pet not only helps teach children the important lesson of responsibility but also help you show them how to be nice to animals.
  • Avoid labeling animals. Having a breed pet doesn't make the rest of the animals 'stupid' or 'worthless'. Teach your child to love all animals equally.
  • Be nice to stray animals. If you can't adopt or rescue a pet, you can still teach your kids how to be kind towards animals by showing compassion towards strays. 
  • Take your child to an animal shelter and help them volunteer or take food and necessary stuff required for the welfare of the shelter animals,
  • Motivate your kids in activities that can help animals. For instance, helping them rescue and leaving food or water regularly for strays.
  • Don't allow kids to play video games that involves killing animals or let them indulge in any activity that includes hurting animals.
There are so many things that we can do to teach our children compassion and empathy towards animals. Its a few small steps that can show them what the right thing to do is and help end animal cruelty.