Many kids love animals and every parent will inevitably, at some point, have to deal with a pleading child who wants a pet of their own. While owning a pet is a lot of work, and can be costly, there are many reasons why having one can be good for your child.
- Kids Are Encouraged to Go Outside More
If you’re trying to get your child away from digital screens and into the garden, then a pet might help. There are lots of benefits to outside play, but children on average spend a lot less time outside than previous generations. A pet such as a dog will encourage kids to go on walks; older kids may even be able to walk the dog around the neighborhood themselves, or they can play with their canine friend in the garden. Smaller pets such as rabbits or guinea pigs will also need to go outside and kids love watching them run around in the sunshine.
- Children Learn Responsibility
Depending on the age of the child, they should have chores related to the pet, from walking them after school to feeding them or helping clean out their cage. Kids can also get involved if you take your pet to a Heart + Paw vet for a checkup, as they can learn about the best ways to look after their animal and how to keep them healthy. Caring for an animal is an important life skill, and children learn that while pets are fun, they are also hard work.
- Growing Up with Pets Could Mean Fewer Allergies
While you may be worried about your child being exposed to things like pet hair, studies have shown that the more exposure you have to animals as a child, the less likely you are to develop allergies, eczema or asthma. Scientists believe that this is because young children who grow up with pets pick up microbes that stimulate their immune system, so they’re less likely to get allergies. Playing outdoors and with other kids has a similar effect.
- Pets Can Help with a Child’s Development
Another thing that pets can help children with is their development and social skills. Children who help their parents look after pets can get a boost of self-esteem which encourages them in other areas of their life. Pets also give unconditional love and teach kids about empathy, which is an important skill for them to take into later life.
- They Teach Kids About Death and Grief
It’s natural for parents to want to shelter their kids from the pain of dealing with death and grief, but these are natural parts of life. When children lose a pet, they often have to deal with death for the first time, but this can be a good way to teach these coping skills for the future. There are many ways you can help a child with pet loss, from creating a memorial to having a small funeral, which can help them remember their beloved pet.