Can A Dog Teach a Child Kindness???
As a mama of two active boys, I am constantly reminding them to be safe, slow down and keep those shoes tied for goodness sakes. I do my best to teach them good study habits, to choose healthy foods and to pick up after themselves. As my kids gets older and not always by my side, it's my hope that they are making good choices throughout the day. It is my goal that they will grow up to be kind, compassionate and considerate young men. I look for opportunities in the day to show them how they should act towards others, but sometimes those opportunities don't always come up. However there is one way that makes it a bit easier and that's by allowing kids to become caretakers of animals.
Animals are a good tool for kids to get in touch with their feelings and how their actions can make someone smile or make someone cry.
Growing up, my parents always had a houseful of pets i.e dogs, cats, tortoises, fishes, birds and my sister even had a gecko. (Although, I was never a big fan of that gecko. One time that pet gecko got out of his cage and my bedroom was right next door. Yikes!). My sisters and I learned early on the responsibility of caring for pets, but also to be conscious of their feelings. Like humans, animals experience feelings too. Sometimes when our dog hasn't gone for a walk, he is sad and seems depressed. In turn, I feel guilty and react to his needs. Animals are a good tool for kids to get in touch with their feelings and how their actions can make someone smile or make someone cry. It is up to them to make good choices.
A few years ago, my family adopted a rescue dog named George. I have watched as my boys have learned how to be mindful of their actions with him. This is the same mindfulness I want for them to have when they play with others. In schools today, we are seeing bullying happening and we are encouraging kids to speak up if they see it. Kids are getting practice by speaking up on behalf of their pets. For example... My older son recently had a friend over and that friend was being too rough with George. My son spoke up and said "Hey don't do that. He doesn't like that". This is the same action that I want him to take on the playground. By having our dog George in our home, he is a constant reminder to my kids to give love. Be compassionate and to be thoughtful.
By having our dog George in our home, he is a constant reminder to my kids to give love. Be compassionate and to be thoughtful.
Soooo to answer the question of "Can A Dog Teach a Child Kindness?" Absolutely Yes!
Here are a few ways that kids can get practice even if adopting a pet is not possible:
1-Get Involved with local animals shelters. Involvement can be indirect as well. Start a pet supply drive i.e pet treats, pet toys, collars, leashes. Kids get so happy dropping off the pet supplies at the shelters.
2-Read books about animals. A few of my favorites are Love me Gently- A Kids Guide to Man's Best Friend, Tails are not for Pulling and The Forgotten Rabbit.
3-Improvising with a stuffed animal and using imaginative play is a great way to teach children compassion. Plus it is so cute seeing them tuck in their stuffed friend at bedtime.
4-Observing animals at a park or animal sanctuary. Sometimes, animal experts will host a event geared especially towards kids. Also local libraries often times have events too.