Benefits of Raising Kids with Livestock and Animals

Benefits of Raising Kids with Livestock and Animals

Benefit of Raising Kids with Animals and Livestock

Children and animals go together like peanut butter and jelly. There’s a magnetic, almost inherent connection between the two that often becomes evident in the early years of childhood. Raising children with animals (as pets or livestock) can be incredibly beneficial and play an integral role in emotional and physical development. 

 

 

Animals teach love, compassion, and responsibility. They can be a fur-ever friend for children and diminish feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. Beyond the emotional dynamic, animals tend to have significant benefits in the physical health and well-being of children. 

 

 

While it’s a big responsibility and commitment  to welcome a pet into your home or to raise livestock, children can benefit tremendously from growing up with animals. 

 

Here are some of my favorite reasons to raise children with livestock or pets…

 

…like I need a reason to bring home another animal!

 

Animal Care Teaches Responsibility

Benefits of Kids Raising Livestock

Raising kids with pets or livestock helps teach responsibility.  Regular chores in pet and animal care, such as feeding, bathing or walking –  can encourage children to maintain a schedule and develop leadership skills.  Animals are a commitment and when children raise their own animals they learn their responsibility for another life. Animal care also encourages children to think of the needs of others and fosters feelings of compassion. 

Animals Encourage Outdoor Time

There are many benefits of outdoor play for children, and animals play a significant role in encouraging kids to spend more time outside. Whether they’re going outdoors to provide care for livestock or taking the dog for a walk, spending time outside enables them to get fresh air, sunshine and some immune-boosting vitamin D! Animals help enhance a child’s outdoor experience and incentivize physical activity and play. 

Animals Can Be A Source of Food

Animals like goats, chickens and ducks can be a source of food for families and they’re relatively easy to keep.  The eggs, milk and meat provided by these animals are naturally healthy food sources – free from the antibiotics or additives often found in store-bought foods. 


When children raise animals for food they learn about the life cycle,  food supply, and basic survival skills. They also have the opportunity to be a part of their own food production, which teaches an appreciation for the animals that provide us with sustenance. 

Reduction of Allergies and Asthma

According to a scientific study, having at least one pet around the house when your child is a baby can help reduce their chances of developing asthma, hay fever, and eczema. Additional studies suggest that having animals around your baby can reduce the chances of the child having allergies in general.

 

This is especially true when dogs and cats live inside the house and are often in close proximity to the child.

 

So, not only will having pets around your child improve his or her emotional and mental responses to sentient creatures, but this companionship will also help strengthen a child’s immune system.

Animals Provide Loyal Companionship

Benefit of Raising Kids with Animals and Livestock

Mammals make great pets due to their noted abilities to express love and affection for their companions. These companion animals are a constant and consistent source of love, comfort and support for children. Feelings of anxiety, depression and anger are often diminished when children have a pet  or animal in the home. 

 

Not only do children benefit from the love of their companion, but animals benefit from the love of their human! 

Animal Care Encourages Compassion

When raised with a pet, children typically learn to love and express love much earlier in life.  Children who have animals learn empathy and compassion at a young age and are likely to reciprocate those feelings throughout childhood and adulthood. Pets give the priceless gift of unconditional love and there’s nothing comparable to the pure bond between animal and child. 

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Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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Raising a Blended Family? 5 Tips to Help New Siblings Get Along

Raising a Blended Family? Five Tips to Help New Siblings Get Along

Raising a Blended Family? 5 Tips to Help New Siblings Get Along

Raising the Blended Family

Raising a family after a separation or divorce is no easy feat – it’s a trying and challenging process for everyone involved.  Family life following separation or divorce is understandably difficult, and even more so in the case of remarriage or blended households.

 

Joining two families can be a tumultuous time, especially for the children involved. Children in these blended families can feel resentful, angry, frustrated and jealous. These are all normal emotions and feelings, especially when the new family structure involves children on both sides of the relationship. The dynamic, the people and the relationship are all new – the adults and children will need time to adjust to the new family structure. 

 

Blending two families is an ongoing process that honestly, takes a lifetime of adjustments and reflection to truly work. I’ve found that with compassion, consistency and patience, blended families can be successful. Here are my simple tips for raising the blended family! 

Ease into New Living Arrangements

New siblings require a period of slow and gradual acclimation before living together full-time. When joining households,

it’s absolutely imperative that parents slowly ease the family into life together. Start small – with dinner, a movie, a hike, 

and other short-term activities together. Slowly increase the amount of time spent together at reasonable increments 

(i.e. a day, a weekend, a week, etc). When combining families, it’s always best to go slow and stedy to allow the children 

adequate time to transition into the new family structure.

 

 

Set Consistent House Rules and Boundaries

When two families finally move in together, there should be a consistent and practical set of rules for all children in the household. When a child’s environment or major familial structure changes, they have the tendency to rebel or push the limits in the new structure. Children, especially new siblings, need guidance, rules and structure to learn how to operate in their new environment. 

 

While it might feel like you’re constantly correcting bad behavior, it’s necessary to stay consistent and fair when it comes to rules and consequences. A baseline of expectations should be established from the get-go to avoid unnecessary confrontation or feelings of resentment. With consistentcy and a fair approach to rules and consequences, kids will eventually feel more at ease in the new living situation.

Allocate Personal Space and Respect Privacy

In a new blended family structure, children need personal space to process their feelings and emotions in a healthy way. 

Parents should allocate a personal space for each child so they have a sense of privacy and ownership of space. When children don’t have access to a private space, they tend to feel overwhelmed and overstimulated, which can lead to conflict in the household. By establishing boundaries about individual space and privacy, family members have the opportunity to reflect, think and process their emotions in a constructive way.

Encourage Family Time

At the end of the day, a blended family is still a family. Relationships and connections are often strengthened through family 

time and experiences together. It’s important to allocate time every single day for family time, whether it be dinner, game night or going on a walk together. This is a time to build a bond between parents and children or step-children, as well as between 

step-children. To make family time fun, find common ground between children or similar interests, or you can try something 

completely new to all family members. When together as a group, be sure to acknowledge each child and take time to listen 

and interact with them on an individual basis. When each child feels acknowledged they’re more likely to accept the new family structure and to establish bonds with their new siblings and step-parent.

Be Patient

Patience is the most important aspect of this entire journey. Building a family takes time and parents should model patience

and love every step of the way. Give love, but also allow each child time to reciprocate that love. Remember, slow and steady 

wins the race. This is a major change for everyone involved, and it takes time and patience to build something beautiful!

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Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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6 Simple Tips for Raising the Strong-Willed Child

6 Simple Tips for Raising the Strong-Willed Child

6 Simple Tips for Raising the Strong-Willed Child

The strong-willed, spirited child – with patience, consistency and grace, they’ll grow to change the world.

 

These spirited souls are all too often branded by their perceived faults – by the tantrums, defiance and seemingly constant power-struggle. At the root of it these children have great, but misunderstood minds. As parents, it’s our responsibility to retrain our minds to understand theirs and to adapt to a different way of parenting. Strong-willed children should never be ashamed of or punished for being just that – strong.

 

After seven years of parenting my spirited daughter, I’ve finally reached a bit of a sweet-spot. I feel like I understand my daughter’s behavior (to an extent) and we’ve made huge strides in our relationship. That said, the road has been very hard. Motherhood and parenting are inherently difficult, and I’m going to tell you, raising a spirited child is all that plus some. I’ve screamed, ugly-cried, and had complete toddler-esque meltdowns. I’ve felt embarrassed, ashamed and like I’m completely failing at this whole parenting thing. Despite the challenges, I’ve learned so much about my daughter and how to raise a spirited child. These are my simple and practical tips for raising a strong-willed child.

They're a natural born leader, so let them lead.

Fiercely independent, courageous and determined – these children have every attribute of a natural leader. Their innate ability to take command is pretty remarkable for such a young mind. By putting your child in a position to lead, you’re giving them that sense of freedom and autonomy that they crave. This also gives them the agency to take risks, make their own decisions (within reason) and to learn from their actions. Let your little leaders lead – today, tomorrow and long into the future!

Nourish their inquisitive mind.

They’re curious, but still independent – so take a step back and let them learn through trial and error. Don’t force or coerce them to think like you (because they don’t!), they need to satisfy their curiosity through experimentation. Believe me when I say, telling these children how to do something is a recipe for disaster. Giving guidance and support is aways a better option than telling them how to do something. Sometimes it takes my daughter several attempts at something before she’ll even consider my advice. It can be frustrating and seem like they simply don’t want to listen, bit they’re really just problem-solving. Sit back and watch their mind work, it’s an absolutely fascinating thing!

Focus on building a relationship.

Listen, communicate, console and love – do all the things that help build a strong and trusting relationship. If your child is comfortable in their relationship with you, they’ll be more inclined to respect your role as the parent. Set the precedent for what healthy relationships look like, and they’ll follow. One thing to always remember is that strong-willed children are very reactionary and will fight fire with fire (trust me). Parenting out of anger or fear (yelling, screaming, harsh punishments) will only result in your child returning that anger or fear in some form. Build a strong, loving relationship together, one where your child feels protected, heard and valued. You’re their rock and the precedent for all their relationships going forward.

Be mindful and practice patience.

Before you react, take a deep breath, walk away from the situation and calm your mind. Raising a spirited child can test your patience and invoke emotions anger and frustration, even in the most calm of parents. Take a deep breath to center yourself and be mindful of your child. Nothing good comes from anger or yelling and operating our of emotion can overwhelm your child. It’s okay for you and your child to take a few minutes to decompress, regroup and approach the situation when you’re in a better headspace. These children are deeply emotional and with their strong temperament, sometimes they need time to cool off and clear their mind. Teach them that it’s okay to take that time and most importantly, model that behavior.

 

Practicing mindfulness, patience and emotional control has personally, been the most difficult part of this journey for me. I’m a reactionary person, and it’s been an arduous task to train my mind to consciously choose the appropriate reaction. It takes time to learn to be mindful, be patient with yourself and your child.

Reconnect through grounding.

Nature is a great healer, especially for the mind. Grounding in the most rudimentary form, is the process of connecting your body and mind to the Earth’s natural electric charge. This technique may seem a little, well, earthy for some, but we’ve had some success with it. Strong-willed children tend to be emotional and can have a difficult time regulating those emotions. When my daughter seems to be overwhlelmed or anxious, I’ll have her stand outside, barefoot on the ground. This mind-body-earth connection helps to redirect thought back to the present and eases feelings of anxiety. Grounding brings my daughter back to a place where she can operate with a clear and conscious mind. It’s simple, it’s earthy – but it works. Give nature a hand at healing.

Reconnect through grounding. Grounding is the process of establishing a mind-body-earth connection.

Give grace.

Practice compassion, self-compassion, acceptance and kindness. Life is hard – it’s a learning process and we’re all going to make mistakes. When you grant yourself and your child grace, you give room for peace and self-reflection. We’re all learning and evolving – by giving grace we can accept our mistakes and grow together.
ABOUT ME

Minimalist Mama is a curated story of mamahood, minimalism and simple living.

Portia Owens

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