We've all seen films, pictures, and videos where pets and children have a good relationship together. And indeed, they look super cute. Whether it's a large dog protecting a small child, or a small dog cuddling up with a baby, we're bound to go "awwww" looking at them.
However, real life can be different than what we see in the films and pictures. If you're a parent, you may have experienced having your child ask you to get them a puppy or a kitten. And instead, you may have gotten them a stuffed toy because you know how much of a responsibility a pet is, especially for smaller children.
On the other hand, getting a pet for your child actually has a lot of benefits which goes way beyond the cuteness of both your child and the pet.
Here are the reasons why having a pet for your child is a good idea:
#1 It Teaches Them to be Responsible and Patient
Kids don't necessarily have to be responsible of the more complicated tasks like cleaning their pee and poo. But kids can be thought to be responsible for their pets through feeding them, giving them water, walking them, and even helping bathe them. With these small tasks, kids can already feel a sense of accomplishment and practice their patience too. And as they grow up, they'll carry this feeling of responsibility. To also make sure they don't overfeed the pet, you can get them an automatic pet feeder.
#2 Improves Their Non-Verbal Communication Skills
Obviously, these furry friends can't talk which is why your child will rely on non-verbal communication to express their feelings for their pets. And to support this, a study conducted in Kansas State University showed that among preschoolers, those who had pets had more empathy than other students who didn't have pets.
#3 Gives Them Companionship and Comfort
A pet gives children a sense of comfort with their presence, especially for those without siblings. Pets can also make children feel safer, especially when they have anxieties being alone like when they sleep in the night or when their parents are still out at work when they come home from school.
#4 It Connects The Family
With the advent of technology, it's undeniable that some families are talking less. But with a pet, there's always a reason to talk, like when your child shares something funny that the dog did. It could also be a weekend session where you as a parent teach your child how to take care of their pet or some grooming or training practice.
#5 It Encourages A Healthy Lifestyle
A lot of kids spend their time sitting or lying down facing their phones and computers. This has no doubt become a reason for many children to be unhealthy. But with a pet, they can stay healthy and fit through physical activities like walking their dog or playing fetch or tag with them, with the latter surely involving a lot of running.
So, the next time your child asks for a pet, think about all of these reasons and you might just say yes.