Decade after decade, the debate continues – is it good for children to grow up with pets? There are many positive reasons why children should own pets. Not only do pets teach children many life skills, they are also wonderful friends. Check out 10 reasons why your child should have a pet.
Children with pets develop a sense of responsibility and care for others early on in life. Pets need care and attention all the time. They depend on their humans to feed, entertain, and exercise them. Children who are active in raising their pets usually learn how to be empathetic and compassionate. Learning how to be responsible for another creature will allow the youngsters to better take care of themselves as well.
It is important for pet owners to help their children take care of the pets, gradually releasing responsibility to them over time. When they are young, children can help their parents fill the water or food bowls. As they get older, the assistance can gradually increase.
2. Self Confidence
Along with responsibility for a pet comes the building of self-confidence. When children are successful at raising their pets, they feel good about themselves. In turn, their self-esteem increases and they carry a confident air about them. They are, in a sense, proud of their accomplishments.
3. Less Prone to Allergy & Asthma
Multiple studies over the years have shown that children who grow up with pets are less prone to develop allergies and asthma. When exposed to pet dander and other allergens before the age of one, children tend to develop stronger immune systems. Results published inClinical and Experimental Allergy state that boys who grew up with indoor pets were half as likely to develop severe allergies later on in life
4. Exercise and Play
Pets, especially dogs, need exercise and play. The activities that children participate in with their pets are usually physical. This allows boys and girls to stay fit. In general, families spend more time outside when they have pets. The sunshine and fresh air are good for everyone. Learning about the need for exercise for pets to stay healthy helps children apply the same concepts to their own wellbeing.
Pets tend to bring about a sense of calm for children. Some youngsters are more relaxed around their pets than other humans. Like adults, children turn to their pets when they are feeling sad, angry, or otherwise upset. Magically, pets will bring peace to the situation and provide their humans with unconditional love.
6. Relieve Stress
Along the same lines of keeping children calm, dogs are also great to have around as stress relievers. Being around dogs can be extremely therapeutic for the entire family. Just cuddling with the family pooch can bring about a sense of safety and security for children, let alone the rest of the family. Often, people turn to their dogs for comfort. They make good sounding boards as they are good listeners and never talk back. They never try to give advice when it is not wanted. They are simply there as calming influences for people who are flustered and stressed out.
Although cats are not as compassionate, as pets, they can still help relieve undue stress. There is something to be said when cats cuddle up. Their soft coats and purring can help their owners feels a sense of calm. There are gentle sides to cats – they just don’t like to show it very often.
7. Improve Reading Skills
Many children are more comfortable reading aloud to pets than they are other humans. Perhaps it is because pets do not judge – pets do not correct the children and make them reread. The bottom line to improving reading skills is to practice it repeatedly. The more children read, the better they get at it. At younger ages, it is best for children to read aloud so that they can hear themselves.
When pets are used to help children read, they essentially support the improvement of fluency. The oral practice children experience when reading to their pets helps them become fluent readers, resulting in better comprehension of what they are reading.
8. Learn About Consequences
Caring for pets can teach children a great deal about consequences. When pets are not cared for properly, the results are real and easy for children to grasp. If fish are not fed, they die. If dogs don’t exercise, they get agitated. When cats are ignored, they will seek revenge and do something mean. If a gerbil or hamster’s cage does not get cleaned out, it will start to really smell bad.
9. Learn About Commitment
Growing up with a pet is a huge commitment on the part of the human. Pets are not things children can just put on shelves when they get tired of taking care of them. They need to be fed, cleaned, exercised, played with, and otherwise loved every single day. Having a pet is a total commitment and cannot ever be treated as a part-time job. This teaches children to commit and follow through with the task.
When growing up with a pet, children learn a great deal about discipline. If they have a dog at home, they learn to train it and teach it how to listen. It’s been scientifically proven that having a dog helps children learn about discipline. Some would argue that cats discipline their owners naturally.
There are many sound reasons why children benefit from owning pets. There are many life skills they learn as a result of caring for another being and committing to the responsibility. As an added bonus, children would be able to share their youths with automatic best friends.