The Happiness Blog

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8 Reasons To Get Your Child A Pet


Caring for a pet is a special part of every childhood and contributes to developing a child’s positive behavior while creating lifelong memories. The opportunity to nurture another living being and the excitement of having it become a best friend is, in a way, a childhood rite of passage.

You probably already know that having a pet will both entertain your child and give the whole family the warm fuzzies, but there are other more profound benefits to raising children around animals.

The connection between animals and child development has been the subject of numerous studies, which showed that the interaction with the family pet fosters a child’s social, physical, emotional, and cognitive development.

You must be here because you are wondering whether you should get your child a pet, so here are a few benefits of raising children with pets:

1. Pets encourage a more active lifestyle

Depending on the family pet, this is a pretty fun way to get your child moving. If your furry friend is a dog, then your child will have plenty of opportunities to get out of the house for a dose of fresh air and exercise.

Walking a dog in the park, running around in the backyard, or playing catch is a great way to get children away from their sedentary activities and move around.

2. Pets help children develop social skills

Pets are amazing social facilitators. Children are more likely to approach and start talking to someone with a pet.

This is very encouraging for kids who are not very outgoing, and thanks to a common interest they can make friends. Also, children living with pets get to practice their social skills, which will reflect on their relationships with peers and adults alike.

3. Pets help children learn responsibility

Raising a pet can be a lot of work. Feeding your family’s pet of choice or cleaning after it is the perfect learn-by-doing method to teach your child responsibility.

Allow your child to have an active role in the daily duties regarding a pet and adjust the tasks according to his/her age. Even at the age of three, your child can fill the pet’s food bowl, and by the age five can help clean their pet’s living area.

4. Pets boost children’s confidence

When your child takes part in caring for the family pet, instead of just playing with it, and making sure the pet is happy and healthy, this will inevitably affect his/her emotional development.

Caring for another living being takes a lot of responsibility and decision-making. The more your child understands the needs of their pet, the better he/she will become at deciding what needs to be done and the more confident they will become while making key decisions.

When children see the positive result of their actions, they develop stronger self-esteem. Giving your child some space to exercise their sound judgment and acknowledging the merit of their actions will encourage them to make confident and well-thought-out decisions in the future.

5. Pets help children develop cognitive skills

One of the most useful benefits of pets is the development of an interest in a certain breed of animal. Reading and researching sparks the desire for learning.

Children are very curious by nature and with only a slight prompt you can get your child to read and look for information about its favorite animal. Take your child to the regular vet check-ups and let him/her ask questions about their pet and how to best care for it. Even if your child’s favorite pet is something you can’t keep or raise, encourage him/her to read about it.

Another benefit of raising young children with pets is that they can create a great setting to improve reading skills. When children learn to read, they often struggle and don’t want to read in front of another person, but they would be willing to read to their pet and thus get some additional reading practice.

6. Pets help children build immunity

Studies show that raising children with pets helps develop their immune systems. Children living with pets get sick less often as the microbes pets carry from the outside into the home help to strengthen immunity. Researchers have found that children who live with dogs are less likely to develop allergies later in life.

7. Pets teach children empathy

Caring for a pet helps children learn empathy, as in the process children learn to understand the needs of their pet and recognize the signs in its behavior. Is the pet hungry? Does it want to go for a walk? Is it sick or tired?

Pets are dependent on their owners, and whether they survive and thrive is determined by the owners’ actions.? Pet’s bowl gets filled with food. ? Pet eats. ? Pet is happy. ?This is pretty simple information all children can understand. They imitate their parents to get the same results in different situations.

Looking after a pet is the perfect opportunity to make children realize the impact of their actions and in particular the significance of acts of kindness. Most importantly, it is a great teaching moment parents should make the most of and convey the message of doing good, for the sake of doing good.

Empathy is an essential skill to have, as it strengthens interpersonal relationships, and the lack of it can be damaging. Interestingly enough, it’s been shown that bullies often lack this skill, and having a pet encourages nurturing and develops the ability to care for others.

8. Pets aid children in therapy

Children develop a special bond with their pet and this non-judgmental relationship becomes a source of comfort to many. Children who experience emotional distress, PTSD, are developmentally disabled, have autism or even experience sibling rivalry can benefit greatly from having a pet.

Pets can speed up recovery time, lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Children can sense that animals love them unconditionally and in stressful situations, they might be more willing to trust a pet than a person.

Children living with pets gain the upper hand when it comes to dealing with stress, which later helps them become healthier and happier adults.

While there aren’t perfect parenting tips on how to raise a happy and healthy child, some tips do offer solutions that get pretty close. Sometimes pets can be pretty messy or demanding, leave muddy footsteps in the doorway, bite a beloved pair of slippers, but they are always worth it.

Next time your child starts nagging you to go into that pet shop and maybe take a furry ball of joy back home, here’s some food for thought to help you make your decision.


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