For many people, their fondest childhood memories involve pets. Whether it is a dog, goldfish, pony or toad the value of an animal companion in your child’s life cannot be overstated. Pets are not only lots of fun but they also boost development of your child physically, emotionally and cognitively.
Benefits of pets for kids
1. Caring for pets teaches responsibility to children- pets require to be fed, walked, taken to the veterinarian among many other needs. By having a living being that depends on them for sustenance, children learn the value of responsibility early in life. By providing for them, your child will develop valuable qualities such as compassion and kindness which they can also extend to their human companions. This forms the foundation for parental and leadership skills that they will require in later life.
2. Exercise- getting your child to play with their pet is a fun way to get your child the much needed physical activity. Dogs are particularly playful and mobile making them ideal playmates for you kid. Walking the family dog also provides an opportunity for physical exercise.
3. Children can learn valuable life lessons by having pets- very often losing pets is the first experience children have with bereavement which can help them to cope with death in future. They also teach kids the basics of life including reproduction, illness and accidents among others.
4. Pets are a source of fun- playing throw with a dog, cuddling a fuzzy cat or even watching a goldfish can be a great source of entertainment for your child. This is a much more healthier pass time than video games and social media.
5. They can act as social facilitators- a child is more likely to approach and interact with another child who is playing with a pet. A pet can therefore be a bridge between your kid and potential playmates especially if he or she is shy.
6. Pets boost children’s self esteem-various studies show that children who own pets are more emphatic, self confident and popular with their age mates. Pets are incapable of judging or anger and accept their owners unconditionally. This quality may help your child develop positive feelings towards themselves which is an essential pillar of self esteem.
7. They aid in cognitive and emotional development- your child’s pet can be instrumental in improving your child’s academic skills. You should encourage your child to read to their pet; studies show that this will not only increase their reading skills but will also increase their confidence to contribute in class.
8. Owning a pet can be therapeutic- pets act as a trusted companion to your child. Since they are non-judgmental and don’t disclose secrets, children feel safer talking to them about their problems than they would with another person. This way your child’s pet acts as a comforter, helping to relieve your child’s stress. This is especially needed in the estrus cycle, which usually lasts for 30 days a year.
9. Having pets may reduce occurrence of allergies- it is a popular belief that pets cause asthma and allergies. However, research in recent years show that the converse might actually be true. Children who grow up with cats and dogs from an early age develop immunity to allergens since they are exposed early to certain bacteria.