As kids get older, they find themselves having friends who own pets. From dogs and cats to birds and hamsters, its inevitable they will be asking their parents if they, too, can become pet owners. With pet ownership being a big responsibility, some parents hesitate on giving their blessing. However, as scientists have done research on the benefits of pet ownership as it pertains to children, you might find yourself more eager than ever to drive to the local pet store or animal shelter. There are numerous ways pets help children!
If you have found that your children have had more than their share of ailments, owning a pet could change all that. Based on research published in the Journal of Pediatrics, kids who had pets in their home while they were infants were found to have 31 percent fewer respiratory infections and 44 percent fewer ear infections. When looking for a reason to explain this, scientists determined that being pets help expose them to dirt, dander, and pollen made the children’s immune systems much stronger at an early age, making it a bit easier to clean up after Fido or Fluffy.
And speaking of cleaning up after pets, kids who own pets have also been found to grow up to become very responsible adults. According to researchers, owning pets that they are responsible for feeding, grooming, playing with, and cleaning up after on a daily basis shows children the importance of responsibility, organizational skills, and maintaining a regular daily schedule.
But if you’re more interested in having a child who’s a great student, you’ll be happy to know pets help contribute to this as well. According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, kids who own pets are much more self-confident, have higher self-esteem, and are better able to make friends and perform better in school, particularly in literacy. By having pets who willingly sit and listen to them read while not criticizing them for an occasional mistake, children’s confidence levels go sky high.
If you need even more reasons why its great for kids to own pets, pay a visit to www.catological.com/9-ways-pets-help-raise-kids/
9 Ways Pets Help Raise Good, Healthy Kids
Every step of life has its lessons that can be learned. Kids who often pine after a pet frequently see them as an interactive toy. If a parent takes note, however, pets can be a great opportunity for teaching children many life lessons. Check out our list of lessons below to see how getting your child that pet they’re after can work in your favor!
Lessons From A Pet
- Respect & Control – It’s instinct to grab and cuddle anything small and furry. Small and furry creatures have feelings and preferences too! Many will recoil, runaway, or even act hostile if approached while they’re not in the mood. Teach your child how recognizing and respecting an animal’s mood and needs can be rewarded by a lasting bond.
- Self-esteem – Pets simply don’t have the ability to judge you like fellow humans. If your child is self-conscious, spending time with a pet can help them come out of their shell. Kids frequently spend time reading to their pets or telling them secrets and stories. All these things help build your child’s skills for larger interactions.
- Outdoor Fun – These days it can be hard to get children away from a screen. Ipads, T.V’s, and phones keep kids distracted all the time. A pet is a great way to inspire them to put the electronics down. Pets cultivate outdoor time and physical activity.
- Coping – This is one of life’s hardest lessons. Your child will suffer grief at some point and losing a pet is a way that you can coach them through the process and help them develop coping skills.
- Responsibility – Feedings, waterings, baths, walks, cleaning… the list goes on! With a pet comes lots of chores! Helping your child understand the connection between getting something they want, and then taking care of it is an important lesson. A word of caution though: just because it’s your child’s responsibility doesn’t mean it’s not yours too. As the parent, it’s important that you make sure the animal is being cared for properly.
photo credit: Grattino ♥ via photopin (license)
Soft cuddly playful fluffiness is something most children find impossible to resist! It’s likely that if you have a child it won’t be much longer than they can talk before they are asking for a pet. But are they ready? There is a lot of responsibility in caring for another living creature and it’s not a decision that should be made on a whim. Here are some factors to take into consideration before you give in:
Should Your Child or Children Get A Pet?
- How old is your child? – Age is a big consideration. Children younger than five tend to have a harder time with pets. While pets can be a great way to teach compassion and empathy, very young children can struggle with respecting a pets space and understanding how to handle one. Getting your child a pet too young can lead to either your child getting hurt or the pet. Stick to stuffed animals until they are a little older!
- Start small and assess the child’s growth – Pets are also a great way to teach responsibility. Be sure to take it slow. Start your child off with a fish, hermit crabs, or other creature that requires minimal work. If you observe your child maintaining consistent responsibility with feeding, cleaning, and general care, they might be getting ready for a bigger pet!
- Make sure your child understands commitment – The lifespan of a conventional pet (such as a cat or dog) can match your child’s time in your home. It’s very possible that a pet they get when they are five can still be with them when they are eighteen. You and your child should be prepared for a long-term commitment.
- Are you ready? – While the pet may belong to your child it doesn’t mean that you are free from responsibility for it. The most mature child is still just a child and it’s up to you to make sure that the animal is being properly cared for and to take over duties when your child is sick or busy.
Don’t let holidays or pet shop windows tempt you into an impulse buy! Living creatures deserve your full consideration and they will be dependent on you for the rest of their lives. See more important tips and things to consider here.