Creepy crawlies are funny looking. They have hairy bodies, large eyes (sometimes in unusual numbers), lots of legs and unfamiliar appendages like stingers or antennae. They also make their way into our homes and hide in dark corners, while some spin webs, bite us or hover around our picnic threatening to sting us. All of which can make them seem scary, but they don’t need to be. By following some of our ideas below, we can learn to live happily alongside all animals.
Read books, watch movies and sing songs
When it comes to creating negative views of animals, the media has to lot to answer for, think Jaws and how it ignites a fear of sharks, for example. But, luckily, it can also do the opposite. Finding books, media and songs that paint animals, particularly creepy crawlies, in a positive light can go a long way to helping kids fall in love with them. Pick out a few of your favourites, show them to your kids and watch their interest grow.
Learn about creepy crawlies
All creepy crawlies have a purpose. They pollinate flowers, break down plant material to release nutrients and are a much-needed food source for animals higher up the food chain. Understanding this and learning about why they act and look the way they do can turn fear to fascination and a scary encounter into a live nature show!
Draw a picture, write a story or put on a puppet show
In the same way that books and media can change our perception of animals, so can creating stories around them. Whether it is the fictional adventures of Bert the beetle or a factual story looking at why creepy crawlies are misunderstood, it doesn’t matter. It’s all learning and encouraging a love of animals.
Adopt a companion animal
While not a decision to take lightly, adopting a companion can be a fantastic way to inspire kids to love and respect animals. It can give them a sense of responsibility and show them the care and compassion animals need to thrive. This will naturally extend to the broader environment and animals in the wild including the creepy crawlies hiding in the garden! Make sure you are in a position to adopt though as bringing an animal into an unprepared home is cruel and often leads to neglect or abandonment – read more in our blog, Friends for LIFE – Am I ready for a pet?.
Get outside and lead by example
There’s no better way to show your children they don’t need to fear animals than to lead by example. Put on your wellies, get outdoors and see what creepy crawlies you can find. If you show a passion and respect for nature, they are sure to follow in your footsteps, just make sure you create minimal disturbance and that you leave it as you found it.
Outdoor activities also promote healthy physical and psychological development, including children’s cognitive, physical and emotional well-being, as well as mental health, creativity, problem-solving, self-regulation, resilience, and even language learning. There is no end to the benefits!
Blog by OneKind writers, Jane Warley and Zora Tamas.