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How Does Having a Pet Benefit Child Development?

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All kids love animals. If you think about it, every toddler is fascinated by seeing different animals and learning about them. That’s why many of them wish to have a pet, usually a cat or a dog. However, getting a pet for your child requires careful consideration. After all, it’s like having a new family member. Pets require constant care and a certain level of responsibility – you need to have this in mind. Your involvement in the process will depend on your child’s age and some other factors. However, what makes caring about a pet easier nowadays is the existence of diverse apps for dog owners. The benefits of owning a pet regarding your child’s development by far outweigh the drawbacks – keep reading to learn more about them.

Besides the well-known benefit of promoting responsibility, owning a pet can help your child in various ways. For instance, owning a pet reduces stress in the whole household. It also mitigates the loneliness your child might feel in some moments. Moreover, caring about a pet teaches your child empathy and compassion. It is beneficial in terms of inspiring physical exercise. Indirectly. It has been known to boost self-esteem and confidence.

1.  It reduces stress

Even though it doesn’t seem like it, both kids and teens are under a lot of stress. Of course, it’s a different form of stress than adults feel. Kids are under pressure due to educational expectations, friendship struggles and fitting in, academic challenges and their parents’ expectations of success. So, as you can see, they are dealing with a lot. That’s why pets provide comfort, companionship and unconditional love kids are in need of. Besides these, there are some actual physiological changes that happen in kids’ brains when they pet or play with their pet. Studies show that interacting with a pet lowers the stress hormone called cortisol and it increases the level of dopamine and oxytocin or the feel-good hormone. This happens by just being around a pet.

2.  It mitigates loneliness

Another benefit of owning a pet is the fact that its presence is able to mitigate loneliness. Kids see their pets are some sort of a friend. And the very best kind, as they won’t hurt your kid’s feelings, exclude them or ignore them. This is especially important for kids who struggle to make friends, fit in, or don’t have many children in their surroundings. Children talk things through things with their pets and often share secrets, so they feel that they always have someone to talk to. Even though, child care centres such as Insight Early Learning, focus on teaching children basic principles of wisdom, innovation, sustainability and equity, kids do learn a lot from their furry friends. In combination, all of these things make your child a complete person.

3.  It teaches your child empathy and compassion

Two essential skills that you need to teach your child involve being empathic and compassionate. And a pet can help you with that. Pets are dependent on humans as they can’t make their own food or refill their water bowls. Also, pets need humans even for exercise and having fun. By learning this about pets, kids get familiar with the notions of empathy and compassion. As they learn about their pets’ needs, they learn to feel empathy in the sense of putting themselves in somebody else’s shoes. It provides parents with the opportunity to teach their children to respect other forms of life. Getting your child to stop and think about how their pet feels when cold, hungry or neglected is the first step to building these feelings. 

4.  It promotes responsibility

Teaching a child how to be responsible is not an easy thing to do, parents know that. And yet, it is such an important skill everybody needs. So, we need to do everything we can to instil this characteristic in our children. And having a pet can help a great deal with that. Sometimes, we need to remind kids of even basic things they need to do as they forget. But taking care of a pet can aid in teaching kids how to be responsible by feeding, walking and cleaning after their pet. Kids develop other skills as well, besides responsibility. Maturity, follow-through, and motivation are all skills kids acquire by owning a pet. 

5.  It inspires physical exercise

Some pets need more exercise than others. For example, owning a dog can get your child out and about. A dog needs to walk and run, so it’s a good thing for your child, too. You can go for a walk with your child and their dog, or you can let them play in the backyard freely. Taking them to a nearby park is also a valid possibility. You just need to remember tokeep your house pet friendly, including the backyard. 

If you are an active family, or you’d like to be one, then a dog is definitely the right choice for you. If you think about it, having a dog is great if you have active or more passive kids. As far as more active kids are concerned, having a dog can help them burn that extra energy they have. When it comes to more passive children, it can get them up and moving.

6.  It boosts self-esteem and self-confidence

As you know, owning a pet involves quite a lot of tasks while taking care of them. By accomplishing all these tasks, children boost their self-esteem and confidence as they realize that they did something important and kept their pets alive and well. Kids become proud of themselves and they need you as the parents to confirm that and congratulate them on a job well done. It also helps them see themselves in a more positive way and develop a sense of purpose. 

These are just some of the many benefits owning a pet brings. Some studies have found out that owning a pet can also improve reading skills while providing feelings of unconditional love as well as acceptance.  

How Does Having a Pet Benefit Child Development? was last modified:
February 10th, 2022 by
Emotional Pet Support Team

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