Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Teaching Kids Kindness to Animals and People

It's Be Kind to Animals Week, a time set aside by the American Humane Association and others to promote kindness to animals. This is a great time to reinforce to children the importance of kindness, not only to animals, but also to other people.

In this day and age of bullying, child neglect, and other issues, re-inforcing the concept of kindness is critical. Children are vulnerable, children are teachable – they often emulate what they witness in adults within the sphere of influence.

Therefore, we adults need to take stock not only in how we treat our kids, but also how we treat other adults and how we interact with pets in our own household, as well as within our community.

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) offers some tips for celebrating Be Kind to Animals Week with children. For example, you and your kids can volunteer together at a local shelter or rescue. Although you may not be able to walk dogs, you can hold a bake sale or a collection drive, taking in donations of money and items necessary to run the shelter. Inquire at your local humane society or animal shelter (1) what their volunteer guidelines are and/or (2) what items they currently need. Another idea: spend time together as a family with your own pet – take a walk, play in the park, or toss a ball in your backyard for awhile. Pets need social interaction with their human families; remember to take good care of your pets and involve your children in that care. Your children may want to start a Kind Club with their friends and develop projects to help the homeless animals of your community.

Every year, nearly 7 million animals enter shelters across this nation. What can you and your family do to help these homeless creatures and the people who care for them? You and your children can positively impact your community, and therefore, the nation, by showing kindness to animals, and to other people.

Find some other tips for teaching and sharing kindness at

“Teach your children well,” are part of the lyrics of a Crosby, Stills and Nash song. Those are words we can all live by, so let's teach our children, and ourselves, to be kind to others, both animals and people – when we do, we can all live in a better world.

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