Did you have a pet growing up? I know I did! Dogs, bunnies, snakes, frogs, tarantulas– you name it, and I bet you I had it! My dog was named Biff, he was my best friend! He would hang out by my side, steal my diapers, and give me countless cuddles. He taught me how to be gentle and loving; I pulled on his tail once, he did not like that and I learned that QUICKLY! He taught me to be responsible; dogs can’t open doors or fill their water bowls! Lastly, he taught me to LOVE the outdoors. We would walk around the neighborhood together all the time and it is still one of my fondest memories.
Getting a pet for your family can be a big commitment. It’s something you and your partner should definitely discuss before jumping in, but keep in mind there are many benefits of having animals in the house while a child is growing up!
- Having a pet teaches your child about responsibility. They are given the responsibility of caring correctly for another living thing, like taking them for a walk or brushing their fur. Caring for their animal can help a child gain confidence too!
- Your child learns compassion and empathy; not only towards animals but towards others.
- Kids are more likely to get outside and play!
- Children may be less likely to develop allergies when they have pet. A study found evidence that when a child is exposed to dogs in the perinatal period they may be less likely to develop allergies.
- The child will be given support and unconditional love. Several researchers have found that children name their pet when asked who they would go to with a problem. A pet will love and accept a child no matter what.
- Pets can be extremely therapeutic. Petting a dog has been proven to lower cortisol levels in both the person and the pet. Also, research has found that children’s stress levels decrease when reading aloud to a dog. A great alternative to owning a pet is finding other ways your child can interact with animals. Many libraries offer reading time with animals so make sure to check out your local libraries!
- A pet can help with socializing and with increasing verbal skills.
While pets in the household is not the right decision for everyone, there are many benefits of having a pet while growing up! As a safety precaution, make sure to always educate your child on appropriate behavior with a pet and on pet body language.
What lessons has your pet taught your children or you?
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