Sunday, October 2, 2011

Animal Attraction: Part 2

Animal Attraction

According to an article from kids adore animals and they can learn from all creatures, great and small.  Below is the second half from the article "Animal Attraction".
By Gail F. Melson Ph.D

Lessons from a Fish
At its simplest, having an animal at home invites more of the natural world into your child's everyday experiences. It's like a daily biology lesson. A pet provides an up-close opportunity to study how a non-human creature moves, sees, smells, thinks, and even feels. In addition, a pet can help your child understand other kinds of animals, even those he may never have seen in person. One study showed that 5 year olds who cared for a goldfish at home better understood how frogs eat and grow than their classmates without direct pet experiences.

That goldfish can also help your child learn empathy. Young children do not automatically come equipped with the ability to see and feel from another's perspective, especially when that other is very different from them. (Think of the preschooler who picks out a toy car or a doll as just the right gift for Daddy's birthday.) Animals, with their ways of moving, eating, and communicating that are so different from humans, challenge young children's "me" perspective. A dog's tucked-in tail says "I'm scared," for instance. A cat's arched back and standup fur says, "I'm seriously annoyed."

These unique moments give children a chance to step into other paws and claws and see the world through animal eyes. One bonus of learning empathy this way is a greater awareness of animal welfare. Kids who understand animal behavior and needs are more likely to embrace humane attitudes. In addition, empathy for the animal world may spill over (with your help) into greater sensitivity to human needs.

Pets give many children a sense of companionship, support, and love. Misty the gerbil isn't the only animal to earn a Best Friend Award. Pets are available and rarely too busy to give their undivided attention - especially if a treat is in the offing. If a child is upset, for example, Misty doesn't have to be dragged away from preparing dinner or pulled off the phone. She doesn't say, "Use your words." Instead, she's all ears. No wonder many children see their pets as self-esteem boosters.

Animals provide opportunities to nurture. Although we rightly think of kids on the receiving end of care, we hope that when they grow up they'll, in turn, be sensitive nurturers of children, elderly, and others. The roots of nurturing skills are laid down during childhood, as children observe, learn about, and try out being caregivers. Pets, whether at home or in school, are dependent on us to survive, and can help children plant those roots. When your child sets out food, grooms the guinea pig, walks the dog, or goes along with you to the vet, his nurturing roots are growing.
Caring for an animal provides an especially important opportunity for boys to nurture, since they get fewer chances to hone their care-giving skills as they grow up. Research has found that children associate caregiving of humans with the female role - a "mommy thing," as one 3-year-old said to me. Pet care is a solid "gender-neutral" training ground for nurturance.

Animal Opportunities
If you're considering a pet, be aware that there's no one right animal (or species) for toddlers, preschoolers, or teens. Instead, the choice involves savvy matchmaking. Into the mix go an animal's needs and temperament, your child's personality, and your family's situation. Will that high-energy dog get the exercise she needs living in a small apartment? Will the cat hair set off Grandma's allergies? Will those veterinary bills stretch the budget too far?

If you can't make room for an animal in your home, don't worry: There's no evidence that pets are necessary for children to thrive. We do know, however, that children's lives are enriched by involvement with the natural world. Try to find other ways to go "on safari." A backyard birdfeeder, for example, offers a ringside seat at an "avian drama." Walks in the woods or a visit to a petting zoo, an aquarium, or the seashore are all wonderful ways to bring your child and animal life together.


About This Blog

This weblog seeks primarily to be a resource to parents and their children facilitating, "Empowerment & Personal Responsibility through Education."

This weblog is an extension of BestEducationPossible-theCommunity an online community dedicated to Parents and their efforts to empower their children through Education.

How to get the Best Education Possible for Your Child

How to get the Best Education Possible for Your Child
Click Picture to Buy It Now!

Blogger templates made by

Back to TOP