Most children are naturally drawn to animals. Interactions with animals can help your child grow as a person: By caring for your family pet and all living creatures around us, your little one can learn to love and care for others.
Here are some tips on how you can help your child to love and learn more about these wonderful creatures.
Keep a pet
There is nothing like direct contact with animals to help kids feel comfortable around them. But don't give in to your kids' pestering if they demand a pet and are not willing to take care of the little animal. If you have a child with a high risk of developing allergies, talk to the doctor and the veterinarian to identify suitable animals for pets.
Talk about the animals in books and on the screen
When you spot animals in television shows and movies, point them out to your children. Name these animals and talk to your kids about what makes each animal so unique.
Start with simple things like the sounds the animal makes. Then add more information about the animal: where it comes from, what it likes to eat and how to take care of it.
As your child grows older, encourage your kid to read more about animals in fiction. All-time classics include Black Beauty and the Peter Rabbit children’s book series. These inspiring tales can help your child to love and appreciate the animals in them.
Make trips to zoos, parks and farms
These trips can be fun excursions for the entire family. Such out-of-school lessons on animals can leave a more lasting impression on children, more so than textbook facts.
Frequent visits to the zoo and bird park will help your child learn about birds and wildlife. Meeting a tall giraffe in person will certainly more memorable than seeing it in a book!
Do bring your children to farms too, to get to see animals like goats and fishes at a close range. The school holiday period is a great time for you to get your children to enjoy farm stays and learn more about these furry and feathered friends.
Instead of trooping through mall after mall every weekend, why not take your kids down to Sungei Buloh wetlands, the reservoirs and the parks in Singapore.
An afternoon outdoors can also help your kid relax, have fun and learn about animals and birds beyond the confines of the pages of a book or the screen.
Visit animal welfare centres
Careless and cruel acts can make the world a difficult place for animals. Our kids need to become future ambassadors for the care and well-being of animals, so that all living creatures including the endangered species can thrive and survive beyond our lifetime.
You can start with a visit to an animal welfare centre. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals (SPCA) houses animals that are abandoned or mistreated. A visit to its care centre will help your child realise the importance of caring for animals in a humane manner.