Benefits of Pets For Your Child
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Provide companionship and friendship
Pets provide a friend and companion to your child! Research has even shown that having a pet can help boost your child’s self esteem. Your child will look forward to coming home from school so they can see their pet. With more playful pets like dogs and cats, your child always has someone to run around with.
If your child is begging you for a pet, it’s time to discuss responsibilities when it comes to that pet! Make sure your child understands that you getting a pet means they will have to help take care of it. If you already have a family pet, as your child grows, you can add on responsibilities. Even a toddler can “help” out by pouring food, handing out treats, and helping to brush a furry pet’s fur. A young child can start to be responsible for remembering to feed your pet. Tie mealtimes to significant events during the day rather than numbers on the clock to make remembering to feed them easier. For example, one meal after your child wakes up and one meal while the rest of the family is eating dinner.
Having a pet can be a great way to foster such values as kindness, gentleness, empathy, and patience. Having to help take care of something so dependant is a great way to throw in little lessons on these values.
A built-in science lesson
Sometimes the best way to learn is through real world experience. Having a pet naturally means your child will pick up lots of knowledge on caring for an animal, and you can throw in little lessons here or there. Kids are very curious and will likely bombard you with questions about their pet! “How can fish breathe underwater?” “Why do dogs drool?” “Why does our turtle need a heat lamp?” You may find yourself learning a few things too when you have to Google a few answers!
May help their immune system
Pets may help strengthen your child’s immune system. A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children who had a dog or a cat had lower chances of respiratory infectious disease morbidity. Contact with dogs especially was credited with better health, less frequent ear infections, and fewer courses of antibiotics. The study concluded, “Our findings support the theory that during the first year of life, animal contacts are important, possibly leading to better resistance to infectious respiratory illnesses during childhood.”
As you can see, the benefits of a pet for your child are many (beyond just making your child stop begging you for one!!).
For more blogs on kids’ health and safety issues, check out our blog section.