For children, the world is an adventurous place with so much to explore. Unfortunately, some of the most exciting things can be harmful. Creepy crawly creatures are often endlessly fascinating to small children. Most of these bugs are harmless, but some can put your child in danger. Since you can’t watch your kids 100 percent of the time, teaching them about pests and the potential harm they can cause is essential. These tips will help you teach your children about bad bugs without crushing their spirit of curiosity.
Since not all insects are pests, it is a good idea to teach your children the basics of bug anatomy. This is the first step in helping them distinguish between bugs that might hurt them and more benevolent insects. It can be a fun bonding experience for you and your children. Get books that go over number of legs, antenna, stingers, body segments and any other features that help identify one insect from another. Giving them the language to describe a bug can be invaluable in helping you know how to act in the future when they tell you about a pest that bit them or one they saw in their bedroom.
Each area of the country has their unique native pests. You should get your kids acquainted with which local bugs they should avoid. If they recognize the dangerous insects that are native to your region, they can steer clear of them. Teach them the common markings of any venomous spiders, biting insects or flying pests. Prevention is critical in keeping your children safe from native pests. If you are traveling to a different area for vacation, make it part of your travel preparation to introduce your kids to the different pests they might encounter.
The Danger of Pests
It is not enough to teach your children how to identify harmful insects; they also need to know why they are dangerous. This will help them better understand the reasons they should avoid these pests. You should educate them about the dangers various pests pose to their health. Mosquitos can make them sick with West Nile virus. Ticks carry Lyme disease which is a lifelong illness, bee stings hurt and can cause severe allergic reactions and spiders can inject venom through their bites. Reassure them they should be cautious but not scared. Having the information to avoid pests is a positive thing.
Limiting Exposure to Harmful Pests
Once your children know what pests look like and how they might harm them, you can teach them how to avoid coming into contact with these insects. Proximity will make the world seem less scary and put your children more in control. Teach them about the importance of applying bug spray before playing outside, wearing light colored clothes in the woods to better spot ticks, shaking out shoes before putting them on and thoroughly inspecting themselves for any hitchhiking bugs after playing in the outdoors. These lessons will help them know how to stay safe from pests.
Where Pests Live and How to Spot Them
It’s essential that your kids are aware of the dangers of stumbling across an insect nest. Many pests will protect their living spaces by becoming very aggressive. To minimize the chances that your child unwittingly plays with a beehive or a fire ant bed, teach them what pest nests look like and how to avoid them. Many pests will leave telltale signs around their nests, such as droppings or spider webs. If your child knows what various pest’s nests look like, not only can they avoid them, but they can also alert you to their presence.
Teach Pesticide Safety
When pests invade your home, you take appropriate measures to get rid of them. Most of the chemicals used in pest control are dangerous for children if they are not treated with proper caution. Your children should be aware of the various pesticides you use in and around your home. Bug traps often contain poison that should not be handled with bare hands. Many pesticides are perfectly safe after they are dry. Your child should be familiar with all forms of bug control you use and know why they should not touch or play with them.
Some Bugs Are Good
Not all bugs are pests. Some are necessary for a healthy ecosystem. Teaching your kids about the role insects play in the world around them will help them realize that not all bugs are scary or dangerous. Make a fun activity out of identifying beneficial insects and teaching how they help break down waste or pollinate plants. You can also convey to your kids how some insects are good outside but become pests once they invade your home. This instruction makes a great early lesson in biology and the way the microscopic world functions. Start a worm compost bin, raise butterflies from caterpillars or plant a pollinator garden to make these lessons more hands on.
Keep Track of Bug Sightings
Kids often need to review lessons to make them stick. Keep the vital information you teach your children about pests fresh in their memory by having them keep a bug journal with details about the insects they spot in their daily routine. The journals can have pictures, descriptions and anything else that comes out of the vast imagination of children. Doing so is a great way to engage your children and keep you informed on any possible pest problems you may not know about. If your kids love technology, download an app to help them keep track of and expand their knowledge of the insect universe.
If you make learning about pests into a fun game, your kids will be excited to jump right into collecting this new knowledge with enthusiasm. You will have fun new activities that can keep your kids safe from dangerous pests while they get bonus science lessons. Giving your kids the knowledge to make good decisions when playing around pests is a priceless life lesson that can put your mind at ease.
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