Reasons Pets Are Great For Kids

Everybody loves the family pet, seeing it as a source of entertainment and fun. But do you know that having a pet can also benefit a child’s development in significant ways? Research has consistently shown that children with pets have some serious advantages when it comes to acquiring important life skills over their counterparts. Here are some of the most important of these effects.

They Learn to Socialize

2494974941_3e115fc42fImage via Flickr by sneakerdog

Social situations are often fraught with anxiety for children, who have yet to learn the rules of etiquette and society that guide adult interaction. While obviously the best way for children to learn to socialize is with other people, particularly children of the same age, pets can play a positive role in this process. Pets have needs and wants just like people, and learning to understand what behaviors indicate those needs and wants lets kids practice the difficult process of decoding social cues and empathizing with other living things.

They Learn to be Physically Active

Many pets love physical activity, be it running around a yard or rolling around a living room in a ball. By encouraging your kids to play along with the animals, you can instill in them a lifelong commitment to physical activity that will help them stay in shape later in life. Although we tend to think of physical fitness as mostly involving workouts and strenuous activity, it also includes simply not being sedentary, and relatively low-impact exercise like walking the family dog around the block can help keep your kids from turning into couch potatoes.

They Learn to Care for a Living Creature

All kids benefit from learning to care for a living thing; after all, many of them will have kids of their own one day. Experience gained from raising a pet can teach them about caring for a creature that relies on you for its well-being. Involve your kids in the day-to-day care of the pet, through assigning chores like feeding the animal or taking it for a walk. It’s also a good idea to involve them in the process of larger-picture pet care, such as getting the advice of a vet through a service like Kuddly, or planning a diet.

They Learn a Routine

Another positive effect of involving your kids in the pet’s daily routine is that it helps them learn to plan. Kids aren’t born able to manage time and set a schedule; they have to gain those skills through practice. The distance from their own lives intrinsic to pet care can let kids separate themselves from the picture and approach the job logically, though not dispassionately. Setting times for specific pet care routines and creating schedules for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks helps kids see how time management works on different timeframes.

Of course, the main reason to have a family pet is to expand the family and bring more love into your home. At the same time, there are some very practical arguments as to why you should do so. Think over what kind of pet would work best with your family’s lifestyle, and bring home a new family member. One day, your kids will thank you.

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