How Beneficial Is Pet Ownership To Your Child’s Development?
Pets play an important role in our lives and are often considered part of the family. They love their humans unconditionally, and we form a strong bond with them. We strive to give our pets only the best food, toys, beddings, and we look into getting the best dog insurance as well.
Parents around the world recognize the benefits of growing up with a pet, especially if they have experienced having close relationships with family pets as children or teens. Having a pet teaches children how to properly care for animals and become responsible. Pet ownership contributes greatly to your child’s development, and here’s why.
Social and physical benefits
Research proves that having a pet has therapeutic and educational benefits for children. Children who have pets and interact with them regularly have higher levels of self-esteem, better social skills, and have greater empathy toward others. Pet ownership has considerable physical benefits as well, as pets play a role in building up the immune system of the body. Children who have pets, particularly a cat or a dog, in their early years have a lower incidence of asthma and hay fever. Not only that, they are also less likely to develop animal-related allergies as they grow up.
Pets are also great when it comes to therapy, as interacting with animals can help release endorphins, commonly known as ‘happy hormones’, into the brain. This is why many hospitals have animal-assisted therapy programs for patients of all ages. The positive feeling that comes with interacting with pets contribute to speeding up a patient’s recovery.
Pets and learning
Pets also play a valuable role in the development of children with autism or other learning disorders. These children interact better with pets that people, as they often communicate using nonverbal cues, just as animals do. Pets have a way of helping children learn how to calm themselves. Having a pet to play with also helps a child with learning difficulties stay focused, alert, and attentive. According to the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, children with autism benefit from interacting with dogs, as they give unconditional love and companionship to children. Dogs help children by acting as a social lubricant, a bridge that can help a child with autism communicate with others.
Having a pet in the home provides children with lessons about life. Puppies being born, cats getting sick, and even the loss of a beloved pet are poignant lessons about life. Children develop a better understanding of life, nature, and what it means to love. Children who are trained to extend kindness and compassion to animals become more kind, considerate, and just in their relationships as adults.
Having a pet develops responsible behavior in children, and teaches them respect for living things. The sense of responsibility that children develop from taking care of pets often transfers to the other aspects of their lives. For instance, they learn to take initiative, take better care of themselves, and set aside a time for studying their lessons.
If you’re considering getting a pet for your child, do so. For very young children, small animals such as gerbils, fish, and birds make for great learning. As your child grows up, he or she will be more equipped to take care of dogs and cats. Guide your child in the proper care of your pet and it will surely go a long way.