5 Benefits of Raising a Kid with a Pet
It is easy to fall in love with an animal, whether it be a dog, cat, fish, or bird. So when a child begs their parent for one and starts looking at sales for pets, it no longer comes as a surprise. Many parents, however, are hesitant to adopt a pet because of the numerous obligations that come with it. What they fail to realise is that while owning a furry friend consumes time and effort, it also comes with benefits for the kids. Below are five advantages of allowing your child to grow up with a pet.
#1 Pets teach kids responsibility
For many full-time working parents, adopting a pet is out of the question. This is because animals require plenty of care and attention. They need to be fed, groomed, played with, exercised, and trained, among other things. Will a child be able to handle all these tasks on their own?
While the obvious answer is no, adopting a pet can still teach a child a lot about responsibility. Having another living creature that depends on them gives kids a reason to become motivated. Children learn to do simple tasks like walking their puppy, sprinkling food into a fish tank, or keeping their kitten’s litter box clean. They get an idea of what obligation and accountability are at an early age, benefiting them later on in life.
#2 Pets encourage physical activity
Technology has given children a reason to stay indoors and not get some much-needed outdoor exercise. By getting your kid an active pet, like a dog or horse, you encourage them to get off the couch and burn off extra energy. You get them to walk around the neighbourhood, play catch at the local park, ride at the stable, or join family activities like hiking and camping.
According to a study, a child who has a dog exercises an average of 11 minutes more a day than a child who doesn’t have one. When added up on an annual basis, that’s 66 hours a year. Researchers believe kids who own active animals are less likely to suffer from childhood obesity.
#3 Pets help reduce negative feelings
For kids, especially teens, life can be stressful. There are challenges to deal with such as friendships, academics, and peer pressure. Most of the time, they would rather keep to themselves or share their secrets with one that does not talk back or is judgemental. This is why they turn to their pet for emotional support.
Because they offer love, loyalty, and companionship, pets help comfort a struggling child. Their presence helps calm a kid who is feeling angry, sad, embarrassed, or frightened. Through regular cuddling and petting of their furry friend, children can relax and reduce their anxiety levels.
#4 Pets teach compassion
Pets are unable to make their food or refill their water bowls. They depend on their owners to do these things for them. By taking care of their pet and its basic needs, a child learns to be compassionate and empathetic. They learn to put themselves into their pet’s shoes so that they can better understand what their furry friend is feeling or thinking. They can distinguish if the animal is hungry or full, sad or happy, or relaxed or uncomfortable.
By teaching a child to respect and be mindful of an animal and its needs, they learn to also respect people. A kid can grow into a caring adult that knows how to build lasting relationships and be in tune with what others are feeling.
#5 Pets strengthen family bonds
One of the biggest benefits of having a pet at home is that it helps families grow closer. Animals are often the centre of attention when it comes to group activities such as grooming, playing, and exercising. By implementing an animal into an activity and with everyone spending time taking care of their household pet, they connect and bond as a unit.
Jenny has been a freelance writer for the past 6 years. She enjoys writing about nature and healthy living. She enjoys doing yoga and cooking for her family.