This guest post was written by Amanda Bentley of Qavashop, an online store for coffee aficionados. Apart from providing its customers with quality coffee machines and consumables, it also provides them with advice about how to make their own restaurant quality espresso at home.
Most kids get really excited about owning a pet. Caring for a lovable creature who is also their daily playmate is a child’s dream come true. If that pet becomes a best friend, then the bond they share for the rest of their lives is incomparable to any human connection. They create wonderful memories together and an amazing childhood to hold on to forever.
When it’s time to beg a parent for a new pet, children are quite clever at highlighting all the positive, fun aspects of adding an animal to the family. But the reason why so many parents hesitate to give into the request for a new pet is because it requires a ton of patience, time, and effort to share your home and life with a pet when you already have kids to take care of.
But what you get in return is not just the unconditional love from your pet. Research shows that pets can have a profound positive impact on your children. According to a study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development improve when they interact with a family pet.
If you are struggling to decide about bringing a pet into your home, consider these amazing benefits of pets for kids.
Teach Responsibility And Empathy
Approximately 58 percent of pet owners claim that their pets have helped their kids to be more responsible, according to a survey by the American Pet Product Association. Simple tasks such as walking the dog, cleaning up the bird cage, or filling a food bowl can instill a sense of responsibility and accomplishment in a child. Helping in bathing or brushing a furry pet can also make a child aware of their own personal hygiene needs.
Taking care of a pet also helps children develop empathy. Because kids are naturally focused on their own wants and needs, a pet that depends on them can have a huge impact on broadening their perspective. One thing you can do is ask your child to pay attention to your pet’s mood and observe if it seems sad or sick. This will teach your child to be sympathetic to other’s feelings and needs.
Always keep in mind that even the most responsible child is capable of making mistakes. If your children make a mistake or get careless when it comes to taking care of a pet, ask them why they did not feed or walk the pet and then explain how their action impacts the animal.
Provide Comfort And Companionship
The companionship of a pet also offers coping skills for kids by alleviating loneliness and isolation, which can be part of anxiety and depression. Kids find support and security in having a pet companion to always be there for them. A study published in the The Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health concluded, “There is growing evidence that children turn to their pets for comfort, reassurance, and emotional support when feeling anger, sadness, or happiness. Thus, it is plausible that companion animals may have the potential to encourage better emotional health and reduce anxiety and depression.” In addition, experts have found that children who own pets have improved social interaction with their peers since a pet gives them something to talk about with other kids their age.
According to a report from the Pet Health Council, kids who have pets have higher self-esteem and confidence. The report says that “Children with low-self esteem may talk to, or confide in, an animal in ways they would not with people. They are often more confident in performing tasks they find difficult with an animal simply because the animal does not care if mistakes are made, nor will the child be afraid of looking silly in front of the animal.”
Experts believe that the critical time in which owning a pet can impact self-esteem is under age six. Dogs and cats are usually considered the ideal providers of social support since they offer a greater level of interaction and reciprocation than other pets. Experts also believe that pets have played a positive role in various cultures by providing psychological support, helping people feel good about themselves and more optimistic about life.
It’s a well known fact that pets like dogs and cats can help children learn more effectively. For a long time, dogs have been used as a therapy tool in schools for children with developmental disabilities. They have been shown to be especially helpful in improving children’s reading skills. A study conducted on second graders showed that children who read aloud to a dog had better reading skills than children who read out loud to an adult. Researchers then concluded that this was because the child was less stressed with a dog as it provides nonjudgmental support. In fact, a few schools in Canada and the United States have initiated a program called READ (Reading Education Assistance Dog), in which children spend time reading aloud to attentive pooches.
Improve Family Bonds
A pet at home is something all family members come to love and cherish. Having a pet can make the family bond stronger, as animals are usually the centerpiece of many family activities. Walking, grooming, feeding, and playing with a pet are enjoyable for everyone. The pet also forces family members to slow down from their hectic lives, realize the importance of nature in our life, communicate with one another, and enjoy spending time together relaxing with their animal friend.
How has owning a pet enhanced your family’s happiness?