Are you a pregnant pet owner and wondering how your child will be impacted by the pet (and vice versa) after birth? Or, are you wondering if you should get a pet having seen how much your child loves playing and cuddling with a neighbor’s dog or cat? Having pets is a wonderful thing, no doubt. Whether it is playing with a pooch or petting a purring kitty, pets are real stress busters and it is joyous to watch their activities. But, if you have a child, having a pet is more than just happiness or stress-killer. A pet can teach your child multiple things and help in his/her development in many ways. Curious to know how? Read on.
8 Benefits Of Having A Pet For Your Child
Adding a furry or feathered friend can be a wonderful for your family especially the kids. Pet ownership goes beyond the fact that they are cuddly and lots of fun. Here are some of the bigger perks that come with having a pet for your child:
- A pet can increase your child’s physical activity: Just like having a baby keeps you on your toes, having a pet keeps your children on their toes. They cannot be glued to their TV, iPads or video games anymore. They will need to run behind their pets, take them for walks and ensure they are safe. All these provide a great break from your child’s otherwise possibly sedentary lifestyle
- A pet can teach your child responsibility: Having a pet can also make your child more responsible. If your child is big enough, you can share some of the pet chores, like feeding the pet or walking the pet, with the child. This will evoke a sense of accountability in your child. Even if your child is too small to be delegated with pet chores, he/she will watch you taking responsibility of the pet and learn a lot about these values of nurturing. In fact, if you can urge your child to help you in doing these pet chores, that is all the better
- A pet can teach your child values: Having a pet will teach your child a thing or two about love. It will help him/her be more empathetic to the needs of other animals (pets need food, shelter and love too!). It will also make them gentle and kind, not just to animals, but in general as well
- A pet can boost your child’s self-esteem: Pets and self-esteem? What is the connection, you wonder? Research shows a direct link between children’s self-esteem and them having a pet to take care of. This is because if a child has a pet, he or she experiences a strong bond with the pet and is secure in knowing that apart from mom and dad there is someone who loves him/her unconditionally. In fact, the pet becomes your child’s first best friend, someone with whom he/she can talk to
- A pet can improve your child’s academic skills: Again, do you wonder how these two are related? A child with a pet tends to read aloud to the pet, talk about new things he/she learned in school to the pet and so on. This boosts your child’s confidence and hence improves the academic skills
- A pet can boost your child’s health: Are you worried that the exposure to the germs and pet hair can make your child fall sick often? It is quite the opposite in fact. Research has found that children who have had early exposure to the bacteria from pets are less likely to have allergic reactions later in their life. Similarly, children with a pet have fewer instances of respiratory problems and lesser risks of developing ear infections. This is not just true about kids but it is also seen that adult pet owners fall sick less often too. However, please remember that some kids are genuinely allergic to pet hair, and such kids fall sick often in a pet’s presence
- A pet helps your child become more social: A pet can help your child develop more social skills. Children are more inclined to approach and interact with another child who is playing with a pet. So in this way, if your child is an introvert and is less outgoing, a pet can be the bridge that gap between him and his probable playmates
- A pet increases verbal skills of a kid: Mere presence of a pet gives verbal stimulus to help your child learn talking
So, it is pretty evident that pets are a great choice for your children. In addition to all the wonderful benefits listed above, pets can also spread joy in a household and reduce everyone’s stress levels. It is also a great feeling to have someone who unconditionally loves you. Pets are shown to have a positive impact on kids with problems such as autism. Hence having pets can be therapeutic too.
If you have been contemplating buying a pet for some time, this might be the right time as it immensely helps your child’s emotional development.
If you already have a pet at home then please do share your experience and positives about having a pet in the comments section below.