Children and animals have to be the two most innocent things on this earth. When I had Penelope, I knew I wanted to introduce her to our (many) animals as seamlessly as possible. Thankfully, all of our animals seemed to know how small and fragile she was and treated her with such care and respect once she came home.
As Penelope got older and more curious, I knew I needed to model ways to treat animals with respect and remind her to be gentle. I didn’t want to put any of the animals in uncomfortable positions where they would have to tolerate pain, and I especially didn’t want any situations that would be dangerous for Penelope.
We constantly model animal behavior around her, with visual cues and verbal reminders. Usually consisting of “pat, pat the chicken, dog, cat, etc. “. I cuddle the animals and say “awww” a lot, which is Penelope’s signal to give kisses, which is really cute.
With our wilder animals, we always make sure to be in a safe situation. We also try not to push any animals past their limits or put them in uncomfortable situations. I hope that Penny is able to transfer the respect that we show animals into other aspects of her life as she gets older.
Animals are such a magical way to introduce children to responsibility and the workings of nature. When Penny gets older, a lot of her chores will consist of the animal chores that we do around the house and the ranch. She will be able to see that our livelihood and food come from these living creatures and how important they are to this world.
Do you have pets with your small children? How was the introduction?