5 ways animals can boost kindness in kids

Your child is already nice. Here's how observing animals might make your little ones even kinder.

Cat Larrison wasn’t feeling well when her five-year-old thought of a way to help. “He came up and licked my arm!” Larrison says. “It was as sweet as it was soggy.”

Her son was imitating one of his favorite animals: a dog. But a pooch isn’t the only creature that children might observe behaving “kindly.” And experts say that by observing and copying some of that behavior, kids can develop empathy, self-esteem, patience, and more.

The secret seems to be that kids naturally relate to animals. “Humans are complex, so their behaviors can have many layers,” says psychologist Hilary Kratz of La Salle University. “But when kids see an animal do something, it simplifies things in a way that’s more accessible: ‘If

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