How raising animals benefits children

By Emily Folk

When kids leave their shoes in the living room or the front door open, we often say something like, “I didn’t raise you in a barn.” While the phrase is good for a laugh and the occasional reminder, it overlooks the potential benefits that growing up around animals can provide. Why is it a good idea to raise animals for and around your children? 

They Encourage Kids to Spend More Time Outside 

In today’s world, getting kids to play outside is akin to pulling teeth from a disagreeable crocodile. Most young ones would much rather stay indoors and watch television or play video games. While the world has changed, the need to play outdoors hasn’t.

Since most of the animals you’re raising will live outdoors, your little ones will need to spend time out there to help take care of them. 

Even something as simple as collecting eggs or feeding chickens – tasks that even young children can manage – will get them off the couch and away from their electronics for a little bit each day. Plus, who hasn’t enjoyed chasing chickens at least once in their life? 

They Teach Lessons About Life 

Things like birth, death, illness, accidents and grief are difficult to experience and even harder to teach – especially to young children who have no other point of reference. The animals you raise live much shorter lives than our own, so they will experience all of these milestones and more in a fraction of the time it takes us to do the same. While you’re raising animals, your kids will learn how to understand these events.  

They Teach Responsibility 

They say having a pet is a great way to teach a kid how to be responsible. The experience gives them another life to care for. Of course, most parenting experts who say this assume a child’s first pet will be something like a hamster or a goldfish – something small with a short lifespan that’s easy to care for. While these pets can be useful teaching tools as well as companions, there’s nothing quite like learning responsibility by growing up on a farm and raising livestock. 

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