Pets in general and others that one can find in zoos and national parks have an invisible connection with children that are impossible for adults to fathom. Both are drawn towards each other and children tend to become calm and joyful at the sight of small and large animals provided the latter does not act aggressively. Though parents try to keep their children away from pets for fear of developing health issues or getting injured, animals are naturally gentle when they approach kids.
Therapeutic effect of animals on children
While there have been several movies, real life stores and television series about relationships between children and animals, only few people know that animals have been able to help children with autism manage themselves. Research shows that children develop sensitivity and understanding about others feelings better with animals around them. Animals help children develop better interpersonal and nurturing skills so they can easily transition into adulthood. Children develop curiosity about other different species and their livelihood when they see animals and spend time with them instead of being self- indulgent about their personal demands.
Nature walks and pet animals in schools
To help children understand different animal and plant species, schools conduct nature walks and picnics that can bring them closer to nature. Trips to zoo, biological parks and aquariums help them understand the world better and appreciate their qualities. Several schools have introduced unique concepts of pets where small animals like cats, dogs, badgers and guinea pigs are reared in large cages or open play areas. Students are encouraged to spend time with them during break or after school to understand their eating and playing habits. Even in Singapore’s preschools this concept has been introduced to make children more outgoing and develop social interaction skills.
Managing matters confidently despite being vulnerable
Even though we are seeing growing signs of aggression in children with every generation, small children are always vulnerable before adults and elder siblings. Under these circumstances they find solace in pets as they can be dominated and also be loved unconditionally. The sense of power and responsibility that the child feels on being asked to take care of a small pet can make them into capable and confident individuals. Singapore’s preschools understand the importance of this and know that once children are able to rear and watch the pet grow they also develop a sense of self-worth. Children can also spend several hours running around and playing with their pet instead of wasting time sitting before television or playing on cellphones.
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