How to Instill a Love for Animals in Our Children

12 December, 2020
This is an issue that should be instilled in the youngest from an early age. They should not only love their pet, but also all the wild species on the planet.

As parents, we must teach children how to respect and value all the species around us. Starting with pets, we can instill a love for animals in our children. Would you like to know how? We’ll tell you in this article.

How to instill a love for animals in our children

There are some things that seem obvious to us as adults. However, we must admit that it’s usually because someone has taken it upon themselves to teach us at some point. In the case of love for animals, it’s a habit that has to be cultivated from childhood. Therefore, if you have children, pay attention to the following advice:

1. Preach by your example

Firstly, it’s very important for your children to see you doing what you want them to do. Clearly you can’t tell them to love animals if they see you mistreating a dog on the street.

Being consistent in our actions applies to any habit we want to teach our kids. When it comes to love for animals, your children should see you treat pets well at home –or in other homes– and in any other situation. For example, if you go to a farm, the beach or the woods, you should maintain the same attitude.

Girl playing with a rabbit.

2. Leave fear aside

We’re not only referring to the mistreatment or good treatment of a living being, but also to the sensations or emotions that they produce in us. For example, if we’re afraid of a spider and we scream in front of our child when we see one, it’s likely that the child will also be afraid of arachnids.

It’s essential to work on controlling our impulses. Keep in mind that our traumas shouldn’t be passed on to the youngest members of our family.

3. Allow them to explore

Another way to instill a love for animals in our children is to let them make contact with them. We need to be careful though; if a dog or a cat is very unsociable, we should always be cautious. Nevertheless, apart from these cases, the little one should be able to interact with these beings freely.

How? You can take them to the park more often to observe insects or birds, let them cuddle a relative or friend’s pet, or go to a forest or beach to meet the animals living there, etc.

However, exploring isn’t about taking them to the zoo and having them see the animals locked up and out of their natural habitat. Some parents think that this is a good lesson, but in reality it only encourages the suffering of many species.

Boy feeding rabbits.

4. Give them duties

If we have pets at home, our children can actively participate in their care and maintenance – according to their age and abilities, of course. Simple things such as filling the feeder or drinking bowl, cleaning up the waste, or putting them on a leash to go to the park, can help the child start loving animals.

Moreover, as they get older, you can multiply these tasks or duties: taking them for walks, going to the vet, bathing them, cleaning their beds, vacuuming the floor to remove hair, etc.

5. Watching movies: another way to instill a love for animals

Cartoons have many “hidden” teachings that help instill a love for animals in our children. Once the movie is over, you can take the opportunity to talk about the subject and have the children share their opinions about it. Some choices of movies with animals for young children are Finding Nemo, Ice Age, Land of the Bears, MadagascarOver the Hedge and The Secret Life of Pets.

Internet videos can also be of great help for children to see other animals than those they see on a daily basis. Additionally, there are always books with photos or images that can teach them about different species in remote ecosystems such as the North Pole, the jungle or the desert.