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Do your children or those you teach respect animals? Many children get to a stage in their lives where, if they do not already have pets, they really want them. Maybe it’s seeing other animals, seeing videos on YouTube or the fact their friends have pets. Regardless of the motivation, for many parents it’s a worry as to whether it is a five minute fad or something which will build their character and improve their childhoods.
However, it is possible to turn their desire for a pet into an educational moment. Get them to earn the pet or as a tutor, to learn valuable lessons about pets and animals in general. The tutor is lucky in the fact that at the end of the day, they do not have to buy or rescue a pet for the children in question.
In the Classroom/Tutoring Room
The simplest forms of educating children about animals comes from reading books and class materials together. This can include TV shows and movies when tied into valuable learning activities whether they are compositions, quizzes or something else. Raising awareness in a small class or during a one on one session also allows you to explore the child’s opinions and to work together to find solutions or better ideas. This can include creating imaginary pets, discussing possible situations you might find yourself in with a pet, and possibly even working on campaigns or ideas for better animal lives in the wild. Many animal charities also have online and downloadable resources for educators.
Outside of School
Whether a parent or a tutor on a field trip, the first thing you can do is be a good example to the children. Children often learn by observing adults and people around them in general. This means showing respect to animals both in your interactions and in how you talk about them. Often this starts by humanely trapping then releasing bugs, but can also move on to taking children to shelters and vets so they get first hand experience of what animals go through when ill or not cared for.
Some might suggest going to the zoo, but it is far better to watch animals in the wild when they are in their natural environment, even if this is your back yard. Another way to set a good example is to forego any entertainment which disrespects animals and to also create litter picking activities with children. Of course this should be supervised as some litter should not be handled by kids.