Are Pets Good For Children?
Most children love animals, and from the moment they can, they will beg their parents for a puppy or a kitten. Pets bring smiles, laughter, and friendship to a child; what could be better than that?
Pets are more than just cute, loveable creatures that make life that little bit richer. They are our companions, teach us about life, and often provide lessons to help bolster the type of person we become.
With case studies focusing on the effects pets have on children when growing up, we tend to believe environmental factors have a large part to play in how the pet’s personality develops and influences our children. But Could other factors play into how pets affect children?
Some questions to ponder-
Are pets good for children?
How do pets affect a child’s growth?
Pets Teach Children Responsibility
When a child is growing up with a pet, and if their parents have anything to do with aiding this trait, they will learn that while having a pet is fun, some tasks need to be met daily to look after the pet. When children partake in these routine tasks like feeding their pet, cleaning their pet’s cage, washing their pet, ensuring their pet has water and making sure the pet has had their daily exercise; they are more likely to grow up learning the role of responsibility and showcasing that in their adulthood.
Children can be self-absorbed. That is why we teach “sharing is caring” at a young age, and as parents, we also teach our children that their actions affect others. Having a pet is a great way to show an actual cause and effect in day-to-day life if your pet’s needs aren’t met.
Responsibility is also key to learning that you have to put effort into the most important things to you.
Pets Teach Children Compassion
As mentioned above, children can be naturally self-absorbed. From birth till the teen years, children’s brains aren’t fully developed, and they have less impulse control and more challenges with decision making.
By having a pet at a young age, children can learn and grow with it during their formative years. In addition, children who grow up with pets tend to show their peers the same respect they show their dog or cat.
Having a genuine sense of compassion for others is essential to bolstering personal development and personal growth. This self-development then helps a child become conscientious beyond their own immediate family and are willing to partake in helping their community.
Pets Are Mental Health Boosters
Children raised with pets show many benefits. Developing positive feelings about pets can contribute to a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
Science shows that pets have a calming effect on humans; their companionship can help children grow less anxiety and depression. Not only that, pets help boost confidence in children as a pet is a non-judging presence.
With a pet around, especially while reading or studying, children can often bounce ideas off of their pets, which, of course, boosts their confidence within themselves. Some facts even go to the extent that if your child has autism, a therapy dog can ease their cortisol and stress hormones when feeling out of sorts.
Developing positive feelings about pets can contribute to a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. In addition, positive relationships with pets can aid in the development of trusting relationships with others. A good relationship with a pet can also help in developing non-verbal communication, compassion, and empathy.
Pets Improve Children’s Health
When owing certain pets, there’s a responsibility to take that pet out for their daily exercise. This responsibility then turns into a habit and allows your child to grow up surrounded by physical exercise. Whether going on a walk or running in the park with a pet, your weekends and recreational activities often become something that allows the family to bring their pet along, which means playing outside becomes a norm.
Science has proven that having pets in the house boasts a child’s immunity. In addition, a pet is shown to decrease allergy development in children, as their immune system becomes more robust as they grow.
According to petcircle.com, “Particularly for infants and young children, the presence of an inside pet has been documented as a contributor to a stronger immune system. In addition, infants exposed to dogs or cats were found to be healthier and experience fewer respiratory complications and ear infections.”
Pets Teach Children About Life
As we all know, pets have a shorter lifespan than humans; this allows your children to learn specific life lessons early and be prepared for such things later in life.
Life lessons such as illness, birth, reproduction, and death may not be easy for a child to be exposed to and experience; however, it builds a chance to create an open line of communication between the child and parent. Helping your child process these complex emotions early on can significantly help them later in life.
Positive relationships with pets can aid in the development of trusting relationships with others and become more confident.
Pets provide a haven for children to share secrets and or private thoughts without judgment.
Psychology Today found that pet-owning children are generally better off than kids without pets. Their parents reported children raised in families with pets to:
- have better general health
- be more obedient
- be more physically active
- be less moody
- have fewer behavior problems
- have fewer learning problems
- provide a connection to nature
- teach respect for other living things
Looking back on this article, if you’re wondering whether to bring a pet into your family while you have a child or whether your child is too young for a pet, we would say you shouldn’t be concerned.
Pets have our tick of approval, and science backs it up!
However, we must disclose that please only get a pet if your family can provide for it. They are a huge responsibility, and adding a “fur baby” to the mix may not be the best solution for some families.
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