Christina is a proud wife, mother, entrepreneur, author and world traveler.
It's a tale as old as time. The kids beg for a pet, but the parents get left with the responsibility. It's a fair concern to have, but, in reality, pets are great for young children. While children think of all the benefits, such as a furry friend to play with, parents think about the responsibilities that come with looking after another living being. This is why it's up to parents to ensure their children get the most out of being a pet owner. It takes patience and energy, but the payoff is well worth the unconditional love. If you're not convinced, let's discuss eight reasons why pets are great for young children.
Much like having a child, looking after a pet requires commitment. Giving your children chores that revolve around looking after a pet is an excellent way to teach them responsibility. A chore chart with tasks, such as feeding, brushing, walking, and playing is a great way to keep them accountable to you, the pet, and themselves. Children learn about resilience, dependability, and nurturing. All skills that will stand them in good stead for adulthood.
2. Increased Activity
There is a wide range of health benefits to owning a pet, but the most obvious is increased physical activity. If you have a dog, you are far more likely to walk longer. A study suggests that dog owners walk almost 1,000 miles annually with their dogs in tow. Whatever the pet, however, your children will be more active while playing with them.
3. A Healthier Lifestyle
To expand on the additional health benefits, owning a pet will improve your lifestyle in a variety of ways. Studies have consistently shown that pet ownership reduces the risk of allergies later in life, reduces the risk of high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease. Moreover, playing with a pet can reduce the levels of stress hormones and increase the feel-good hormones. Whatever type of pet you opt for, the benefits are clear – it can help you live a healthier lifestyle.
4. Teaches Empathy
According to child behavioural expert Denise Daniels, interacting with animals regularly can teach children empathy. Children tend to be selfish and self-absorbed because their brains are still developing. It takes them time to learn empathy and pets can help fast-track that. Pets can clearly communicate their needs in a way that allows children to think about someone else's needs over their own. Additionally, people who had pets as children tend to be more involved in their community as adults.
5. Brings Comfort and Companionship
What better source of unconditional love at a moment's notice than the comfort and companionship of a pet? It doesn't matter what mood a person is in, pets provide support and security. This can help reduce childhood worry and anxiety. It can also make them less likely to withdraw when dealing with anxieties.
Pets are an excellent way for children to build their social skills. Not only will the pet give them more confidence in general, but it gives children something to talk about with other children. Pets are a commonality that many people share and an easy subject to discuss with anyone. When children feel confident striking up conversations, they have an easier time building friendships.
7. It's Just Fun!
With a pet to look after, families are more likely to spend time together. They take pets on group walks, play together, take the pets on trips, and simply slow down to enjoy time together. Having a pet is a great way to teach children responsibility, yes, but it's also a great way to increase family bonding. Of course, pets are fun all on their own. With a furry friend next to your child, they needn't be lonely or bored. They will always find something to explore together.
8. The Circle of Life
The hardest thing about pet ownership is the inevitable goodbye. It hurts, but it's a good way to teach your children about the circle of life. It isn't just death they learn about either. It's an opportunity to teach your children about illness, reproduction, and birth as well. This is the first exposure many children have to the more serious aspects of life. It isn't easy, but it is an excellent tool for teaching children about emotions and how to process them.
When it's time to say goodbye, plan peaceful euthanasia. It can even take place in the comfort of your own home to provide everyone with the space to say goodbye in their own way.
Pets Are Awesome!
Ultimately, owning a pet is a lot of work. But, the joy they bring to their family is worth the teething problems. In addition to the benefits above, many studies have found that pets help fight stress, reduce anxiety, and reduce the risk of depression. It might not feel as though your pet can understand you, but children feel heard when they talk out their worries and issues with the pet that provides them comfort. They have a loyal companion and a responsibility to help look after them.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.