5 Ways a Classroom Pet Can Be Socially Beneficial

We’ve heard it a million times, but it really is the truth—kids are the future.

With that said, it’s important for us to be conscious that with the rapid growth of technology, it’s becoming easier and easier for kids to avoid interacting with each other. It’s a sad truth, but important to acknowledge. Here are a few ways having a pet in the classroom can help solve this problem.

Responsibility

We all remember what it’s like to be a kid. You’re either too short for that, too young for that, or don’t know how to “insert something that everyone else knows how to do.” It’s common for kids to always want to be older, because older people seemingly get to do all of the “cool/fun” stuff. Giving the students daily, weekly, and/or month responsibilities of taking care of the classroom pet will be far more appealing than playing on the computer during free-time or secretly playing games on their cell phone, because finally they are able to do something that doesn’t seem childish.

Emotional Awareness

Constantly being attached to something technology related allows us to detach from reality. When we’re glued to our phones, we can easily miss someone telling us something important or avoid participating in something that allows us to get to know each other better. This is an extremely frightening thought, because it really does jeopardize our abilities to feel emotion.

By setting phones, mp3 players, etc. aside when taking care of the classroom pet, students will be more aware of the needs and emotions of the animal. For example: When an animal shows signs of sickness, if one is paying attention, it really is quite clear. If an animal shows signs of hunger, thirst, need for attention, etc… they’re normally fairly obvious about it. The students being aware of the animal’s emotional well-being, they will have a much greater chance of noticing the emotional status of those around them. If they were to continue to be shielded from this enormous aspect (emotional well-being) of the people in their lives, it would most-likely lead down a very unhealthy road.

Caring

It’s one thing to be aware, but caring is a completely different thing. Sadly, sometimes it’s very easy for us to not care about people enough when we know we should. The majority of the time, children and/or teenagers aren’t caring towards each other, because of something that was said or done in the past.

This is why having an animal in the classroom is such a good way to teach kids how to care for someone or something else. Gradually the caretaker will create an attachment to the animal and vice versa. By creating this attachment, the caretaker may be more understanding and sympathetic to the animal. But it does not stop there; kids taking care of an animal will hopefully see it as a living creature that should be treated with care.

Teamwork

This one’s much more obvious. By having to take care of an animal together as a class, the students will have to learn how to work as a team. This is an extremely important skill to learn for simple everyday life obstacles as well as for building relationships. I’m not talking about dating. I’m taking about the relationship each student has with their siblings, cousins, parents, friends, neighbors, and peers; all relationships we make throughout life require teamwork.

Sharing and Compromising

Closely related to teamwork, is sharing. Sometimes life is hard. And especially as a child or teenager–life is really hard. Someone is always doing what we want to do. Or someone always gets to do the fun job. By having a classroom pet, it’s not really an “I” situation. It’s always a group effort and you don’t get to do everything you want to do, because you’re forced to share duties in order for the animal to stay healthy. The last thing anyone wants is for the animal to suffer, because of selfishness. Taking care of a classroom pet means that everyone has their own duty and if someone cannot follow these rules, than the well being of the animal will be jeopardized and NO ONE wants to be that person.

This list of perks could go on for a while, but these are the main pros to having a classroom pet in order to halt the separation from human interaction that’s developing within the younger generations. It’s a very unfortunate topic to discuss, but if we ignore it there will be colossal repercussions. It’s extremely unnatural to look at a screen rather than interact with a living being. Classrooms are a great place to stop this problem.

Meet the Author: Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan is a freelance writer from Wahoo, Nebraska. She's a lover of all things—especially aquatic activities, pancakes, and sunshine. When she's not traveling for work, she travels for fun. One of her favorite feelings is stepping off of the overnight bus in a new location at the crack of dawn.

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