Are you thinking about adding a new four-legged friend to your family home? A pet for kids is a good idea for many reasons. Pets can become your kids’ friends and companions as well as teach them many valuable lessons such as respect, compassion, trust and responsibility.
Some breeds are more child-friendly than others, so it is important to research different breeds before making a decision about pets for kids. It is also important to train your pets properly, make sure they are healthy and supervise interactions to keep your kids safe, especially when they are younger. Likewise, teach your kids to respect their pets and not to tease them or take away food or toys.
1. Pets improve mental and emotional health
Pet owners often feel less lonely and this may be because when they cuddle with a pet, this releases oxytocin, the hormone associated with trust and love. Pets can be a source of relaxation and calmness, helping to reduce stress and worry. They can offer unconditional support when your kid is angry, upset or sad.
Children who have emotional challenges respond to pets because they intuitively recognize they can trust them. Pets don’t judge or criticize them but love them unconditionally. They can give comfort, support and become your kid’s best friend.
2. Pets increase physical health
Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have shown that having a pet for kids can lower their risk of developing allergies and asthma. The same study by Dr. Gern also suggested that when kids are exposed to animals early in life, their immune systems tend to be stronger overall. Other studies have shown how pets can lower blood pressure and speed up recovery time.
Pets also get kids moving rather than sitting playing online games. Taking them for walks, playing fetch and helping to train them gets them outside and gives them some much-needed exercise.
Dogs are being used in supportive roles today for children with serious diseases. They can sense when a child with diabetes has low blood sugar or debate topics ideas or one with epilepsy is about to have a seizure and raise the alarm.
3. Pets teach responsibilities
Your kids gain confidence when they are responsible for caring for a pet. Even a kid of three can cope with simple tasks like filling a food or water bowl. As your kids get older, they are able to take responsibility for other tasks like walking a pet or grooming him.
Even when they go off to study, they will be less stressed while having to research and do writing assignments if they have a pet they can play with and cuddle in their free time. Managing pets while studying is possible, even if having a pet comes with certain restrictions, such as finding a place to live that allows pets.
The relationship that develops can be life-changing and as they themselves continue to grow and develop, a pet can provide love and support.
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4. Pets help children socialize better
Pets like dogs are social animals who love affection and attention. When your kids interact with them, they learn how to read social cues, which may help them when interacting with humans. Pets are also an easy icebreaker and provide a place to start conversations with children, which can be really important for kids who are shy.
Even when your kids are small and they are still learning to talk, you will see them attempting to talk to their pets. The simple presence of a pet gives your kids the opportunity to practice talking and socializing.
5. Pets teach empathy and compassion
Kids need to understand that they have to be gentle with pets and they shouldn’t shout at them or hit them. They need to learn about boundaries, such as respecting when a pet wants to eat or sleep. Developing respect for boundaries is a very difficult skill for young children to learn.
They need to understand that their pets feel pain and emotion just like humans. They will learn that pets also suffer injuries and become ill. Your kids will learn to understand a pet’s needs and respond to them. Is he hungry? Is he afraid? Does he need to go outside? Is he in pain?
Seeing a pet in pain and looking to them for comfort can teach your kids how to be sensitive to others and try to be compassionate towards them when they are in need.
Having pets can have a very positive impact on your kid’s lives, provided that you train them and supervise interactions. Growing up with pets is linked to many benefits, including increased psychological and physical health. Your kid’s social skills improve, too, as they learn how to relate with empathy and compassion to other beings. They also learn how to take responsibility.
Apart from all the valuable lessons they can learn, they also have a companion that can offer great psychological support and comfort as they grow up and face the challenges that life brings their way.
Connie Elser is a recent university graduate in business management and I currently working as an academic writer, editor, and proofreader for a leading assignment writing service. Her area of work is mainly around college and university level students. The superior quality that she provides in form of her work has made her a favorite among students from all across the globe.