Caring for the animals that we share this planet with is an obligation that everyone must understand. From the beginning, God intended for us to be good stewards of His Creation.
In fact, the first job He gave Adam in the Garden of Eden was to name all of the animals. “Out of the ground, the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2:19).
With this in mind, how should we teach our children to care for pets?
God intended for us to live in peace with His creatures. In fact, we can look forward to the day when “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy all my holy mountain” (Isaiah 65:25).
Animals and pets are all part of our world, and as adults, it is our duty to teach future generations how to properly care for pets. Here are some of the helpful things that you can do to accomplish this important task.
Set A Good Example
Let your children see how you handle pets and how you interact with animals. When your children see how to respect and meet the needs of animals, they will follow your example.
Show your children everything that needs to be done to take care of the pets. Then let them do what you just showed them. Let them practice the various tasks as you watch to make sure they are doing them correctly.
Give Them A Sense of Responsibility
You should give your children a sense of responsibility. You can oversee your children while they are playing with pets, and you can teach them the do’s and don’ts in real-time.
See to it that you let them know when they are mishandling any pets. Reward your children when they responsibly care for their pets and implement restrictions when they neglect or improperly meet their responsibilities.
Teach Them The Importance of Consent
When it comes to dealing with animals, your children must know how to properly seek consent. They cannot just act as if the pets and animals are stuffed toys. Teach your child the value of bonding with the pet first before they can interact. Children need to know they can get hurt if they do not properly deal with their pets.
You can do this by handling the animal first, then doing your best to slowly transition your child into personally handling the animal. This way, your child knows that he needs to gain the trust of the animal first before making friends with it.
Use Books and Unit Studies
Creation Illustrated is one publication that teaches children about God’s design and living with His amazing creatures. When you subscribe and discover the many things that they share, you can easily include your children.
You can teach them about different animals and incorporate interesting information when teaching various subjects. With the help of various Unit Studies, students can learn science, history, Bible study, geography, math, art, and more about certain creatures. This will expand your children’s understanding and appreciation of God’s design and how we are to interact with the creatures who share this world with us.
Your Children’s Learnings Begin at Home
Whatever you are doing as a parent, whether you are a stay-at-home parent or a working parent, keep in mind that your children’s learning begins at home. It is at home that your children will learn the values that can help them flourish in various environments. You should use the time that you spend with your children to help them learn how to coexist with the creatures.
You set the values that your children will follow for the rest of their lives, so teaching them about how animals and pets are the Lord’s Creations will help them grasp how all aspects of Creation interact for everyone’s benefit.
In Job 12:7–10, the Bible says, “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you, or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you, and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand are the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind”