It’s an established truth that people who cohabit with pets are generally healthier and happier. For adults, pets provide emotional comfort and physical companionship, encourage exercise and socialization, and instills responsibility, among other benefits. Children who grow up with pets enjoy these benefits too, but also many other essential aspects of their development.
Having a pet animal, be it a mysterious and docile fish or an energetic dog, can do wonders for your kid’s cognitive, emotional, and physical development. So if your kid is insisting on getting a pet but you’re worried about safety and other pet ownership woes, these are minor compared to the many advantages to growing up with a pet.
Keep allergies at bay
Children who are raised in homes with pets show lower risks of developing asthma and allergies. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology has shown that babies who live in homes with cats or dogs are 77 percent less likely to develop all sorts of allergies. Meanwhile, toddlers exposed to pets in their formative years will experience fewer allergies later in life. Exposure to pets at a young age also reduces their likelihood of reacting to dust, mites, pollen, and grass.
One of the main things pet ownership teaches you is to care for another living being. Letting your kids in on some responsibilities, like petting, feeding, and petting your pet, can help them develop nurturing skills. Teaching your kids to play parent once in a while can help them mature faster and develop essential life skills that will give them an edge in the future.
Improve social skills
Pet ownership makes you more social as it forces you to go out on walks, visit vet clinics and pet shops, and engage with strangers. When people come across pets, they would often address the owner and asks random details about the pet. If you take your kids on walks, they are likely to take on this role as kids tend to have a high sense of ownership.
Develop emotional intelligence
Many studies prove the kids who help raise pets develop more empathy than their peers who don’t. This is because kids learn to get attuned to their pets’ needs, from basic to emotional needs, and respond to them as they should. They would then apply the same attitude in social settings.
Teach about love and friendships
There’s a reason why pets and babies are a match made in heaven. They’re meant to be together because pets see kids as playmates, and babies find pets to be the most adorable things. Pets can easily get smitten with babies and forge strong connections that will last for many years. Pets and young kids have one thing in common, and that’s the constant need to have a playmate or someone to give them attention, so it’s almost like kids and pets are meant to live under one roof.
Improve sibling relationships
Nothing can bring siblings together and create a common bond than owning a pet. Your kids will gladly take on the responsibilities of caring for the pet and would take turns to make sure the pet is looked after. This could strengthen the relationship between your kids and teach them to share and love someone other than themselves.
A lesson in loyalty and loss
Pets, especially dogs, are extremely loyal creatures. The best lesson your kid can learn from living with a pet is loyalty. And when the time comes when they need to say goodbye to a pet, the experience can be their first lesson on death and loss, and these are lessons that are better taught at an early age to prevent difficulties in dealing with emotions in the future.
Making a pet- and kid-safe home
While it’s true that raising kids and taking of pets can double your responsibilities, but the cons far outweigh the pros. What you should focus on instead is what you do to make your kids, pets, and yourself live in harmony. Safety should be your top priority. It’s important to train your pet to moderate their behavior around your kids and teach your kids to respect their pet’s boundaries. To prevent household injuries, kid- and pet-proof your house, install garage door safety sensors and fences, and keep them away from toxic materials and sharp objects.
These are just some of the many benefits of having a pet at home. On top of making your kids happy and healthy, pet ownership can even help make parenting a lot easier and less stressful.