National Family Literacy Day
Every year, we celebrate National Family Literacy Day on November 1st to kick off National Family Literacy Month. Throughout the whole month, various events and programs that promote education, as well as offer opportunities for learning, are held in schools, libraries, and communities. Families are encouraged to spend time with their children and bond through reading, sharing stories, or watching educational movies.
However, as we participate in all the activities that National Family Literacy Month has in store for us, let’s not forget to teach the younger generation to show kindness to all animals. After all, what’s the use of being thoroughly educated if you don’t know how to treat living beings? Yes, intelligence is a great quality—but it’s a good character that can make the world a better place for animals and humans alike.
Why Is It Important to Teach Kids to Be Kind to Animals?
Most of us may assume that kids would learn how to treat animals on their own, but that’s not always the case. There are many factors that could influence the way they view and act towards our non-human friends. Without you knowing, they could have peers that aren’t setting the best example or see an animal being abused on TV and follow suit, thinking it’s okay to do so. Education begins at home, and as a parent, a relative, or an older sibling, it’s your job to help shape the character of the younger members of your family.
Teaching children the right way to interact with, and behave around, animals promote patience, gentleness, kindness, and compassion—values that will not only extend to animal communities, but to future human relationships as well. According to research, animal cruelty in children is greatly linked to abusive home environments and mental problems. People who commit heinous crimes against their fellow humans often start off by abusing animals. But, when kids are given the opportunity to love and take care of something other than themselves, they learn the value of relationships and grow up to become better individuals.
5 Ways to Teach Children Compassion for All Creatures
1. Be a good example
Kids learn a lot by simply observing what adults and other people around them are doing, which is why the best way to teach them how to properly treat animals is to be their role model. Show them how you take care of the pets you have at home, as well as the other animals you may encounter. You can take them with you whenever you bring your pets to the vet or take Fido out for walks. You can even ask them to help you feed stray cats or build homes for them—if that’s something that you do. If not, then that also makes a great educational bonding moment!
2. Read books or watch movies about animals together
National Family Literacy Day is all about educational tools, like books and movies. Luckily, there are tons of engaging reads and films that teach children how to show compassion towards all creatures. For books, our top picks would have to be Tails Are Not for Pulling (for toddlers), May I Pet Your Dog? (for kids), and The Forgotten Rabbit (for children 5 years old and above). If you prefer movies, then definitely check out Because of Winn Dixie, The Fox and the Child, Free Willy, and Dolphin Tale!
3. Bring them to an animal shelter or rescue
If you don’t have pets at home, then you can always take the kids to an animal shelter or rescue. You can make a habit of visiting the animals, or take it a step further and sign up your family to become volunteers. Volunteering at your local shelter or rescue will not only give you an opportunity to show your kids how to properly care for animals, but it will also teach them how to be more responsible. However, shelters or rescues may only allow children at a certain age range to volunteer, so be sure to call and ask first.
4. Visit a wildlife center or sanctuary
Aside from dogs and cats, you should also introduce your children to other animals. Doing so will teach them the differences between interacting with domesticated pets and wild animals. A great way to do that is to take them to a wildlife center or sanctuary. The best thing about going to these places is that experts and specialists are there to talk more about the creatures that are currently in their care (how to feed them, how to handle them, and how to behave around them), which adds more insight to the learning process.
5. Adopt or foster a pet
What better way to teach children how to care for an animal than to have them do exactly that? If they’re old enough, then adopting or fostering a pet can do wonders in teaching them to show compassion towards animals. Of course, it’s best to have supervised interactions at first. Take the lead and give them a few easy responsibilities, like washing the food bowl or filling the water bowl with fresh, clean water every day. As they grow older, let them do more. They’ll eventually grow to love their furry little buddy and extend that affection towards other animals as well.
How do you plan on spending National Family Literacy Day?