Kids love animals, it's just part of the growing up process. If you're worried about the impact that having a cat or dog will have on your child, don't worry, they do more good than harm. There are a myriad of ways that a pet can benefit your kid in almost every facet.
Having a pet around to become part of the family is sure to put you in a good mood as well, and here are some reasons why?
Developing a capacity for empathy
The ability to empathize isn't a character quality that's inherent, and it must be taught. Understanding what your cat or dog might want isn't a skill that's naturally part of the human psyche either. When your child starts to learn when your animal is hungry, or when it's scared (i.e. you turned on the vacuum), they start to develop an understanding of other beings emotions. Imparting the lessons of empathy upon your child is an invaluable experience, and will teach them to not only think of themselves. This is especially true if your child is an only child and teaching this concept might be met with certain challenges.
Lowers feelings of loneliness
How can kids feel lonely? They're constantly surrounded by other kids at school, you may set them up with playdates, or they might play with kids at the park. But even though adults are constantly surrounded by other people they can start to feel lonely too. Having a companion around will keep your child feeling comforted by people and animals who love them. Dogs are especially good for this because they can show such a wide array of emotions and exhibit happiness especially well, cats can be a bit harder to read. If your child is interested in finding a new friend you can also look at adopting a dog. Adopting a dog will give your child a chance to change an animals life and will help develop this good habit in the future.
All pets are therapy pets
Not only do pets reduce loneliness, but they can improve mental health in your children in other ways as well. Kids who are just being introduced to the school routine may especially feel stressed, and having a companion can help with that. Having a newborn entering the home may also make your child feel like they aren't the centre of attention anymore. Having an animal partner can assist them in coping with these newfound emotions and learn to handle them in a healthy way. It doesn't dawn on us that children are capable of feeling the same emotions that adults are feeling, but they do. You'll want to teach them how to handle this negativity early on to prepare them for adult life.
Boost in confidence
If you've ever tried cooking or cleaning around your little one I'm sure you've heard the question “can I help?”. Kids love to be part of the routine and will go out of their way to make sure they're doing their part to help you. It might sometimes feel like a nuisance, but this is their way of learning and being part of the family. You may have to augment some responsibilities for them, but teaching them how to care for your pet is an easy task to accomplish. Depending on their age, children may only need to be shown once or twice how to feed your pet. You can also show them how to brush their hair or give them treats when you've said it's okay. Having a role in family responsibility is shown to increase children's confidence, and having a pet is one way to introduce these emotions.
They might play more
This one is mostly for the dog crew (sorry cats), but kids who have a puppy are more likely to spend time outside playing. Whether this is coming with you for a walk when you take the dog out, or going to the park to play fetch, a dog can increase the time your child wants to play outside. Given the introduction of so much technology in everyone's lives, you still want to leave room for your kid to be a kid. Having a pet is a great excuse to get your child out of the house and make them feel like they're part of something.
Pets are handy when it comes to developing a capacity of empathy in your child. They can also reduce the likelihood your child will suffer from feelings of loneliness, or combat other negative emotions they might be experiencing. Kids are little people and can feel a wide array of feelings, sometimes more intensely than adults do. Having an animal around to be their buddy can reduce the negativity they might be feeling. Being able to take care of, and play a role in family responsibility will help your son or daughter develop their confidence as well. Dogs can also increase how much active playtime your child is getting in a day, there's really no end to the list of how having a pet can benefit your child.
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