Is it better to have a pet first or a child first? Opinions vary, but the majority of experts agree that however your human-animal family develop, the love and affection offered by an animal is never a bad thing for a growing child. Here are just five reasons why it’s good for your child to have a pet.
1. Pets Keep Kids Healthy
Besides keeping kids active with plenty of running, walking, and playing – both indoors and outdoors – pets have been proven to lower a child’s asthma risk and help calm the nerves of an antsy, nervous, or shy child.
2. Pets Teach Responsibility
While little kids love to “help” wherever they can, taking care of a pet helps a child learn real responsibility. While neglecting their job to clean their room won’t affect the state of the union, failing to care for their family pet has dire consequences. And knowing that another living being depends on them for nourishment – both physically and mentally – will encourage a child to always do their best in the name of pet care for their beloved dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig, bird, or otherwise.
3. Pets Listen
Once children reach the age where embarrassment or self-consciousness kicks in more and more, having a pet is a serious benefit. New readers may feel more confident reading aloud to the pet who doesn’t constantly correct their pronunciation or try to finish a word for them. Children who need to talk about a problem or concern or dream but aren’t seeking feedback or advice may find a pet is their best audience, serving as a non-judgmental, quiet, interested listener.
4. Pets Improve Social Skills
Connecting with a pet can help kids connect with other people. A University of Cambridge study called the Toddlers Up Project examined the social and emotional development of children from the ages of 2 to 12, and part of the study focused on a child’s relationship with their pets. The children who had a strong bond with their pet performed better in social situations, not only in interactions with others but also in their willingness to share, cooperate, and show compassion.
5. Pets Are Great Therapy
Pet therapy is real, and it helps tremendously. Cuddling a pet – no matter your age – is proven to reduce anxiety, stress, and loneliness. Aggressive children or those with behavioral problems have grown into kinder, gentler people with better impulse control and high self-esteem because of an animal’s undying devotion and unconditional love.
Pet care isn’t a burden, it’s a gift. Invite an animal to be part of your family, watch the benefits this creature offers to everyone, and be sure to care for your new pet’s health as diligently as you care for your child’s. Visit the Northpointe Veterinary Hospital, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for fast and comprehensive care.