Reasons why getting a pet is good for your child
Many of us have fond memories growing up with either having a pet dog or cat. No matter our cultural backgrounds, those of us who had and still have pets have this special attraction to them. We consider our pets a part of our home and family life.
I was always a dog lover as grew up having them as pets. I remember having my first dog when I was about 6 years old. A cross between a poodle and a border collie. His name was Spotty as he was white with big black patches. He was so cute and adorable.
Tragically he was knocked and killed by a car whilst walking with us to the shop. In hindsight we should’ve had him on a leash. The whole family was heartbroken. As we were so emotionally attached to this dog; it made the grieving process hard to deal with.
My husband and I had dogs before having our children. When we finally had our children; the dogs were no longer puppies and already part of the family. This made it easier to introduce the babies to them. We also felt that it was important to raise our children around animals. Our children absolutely love animals. How they interact and care for their pets is amazing. They talk and sign to their pets every day and have pretend play sessions which involves the dogs.
It sounds crazy right but you will never understand how these pets respond once the children are around. They go absolutely balistic – even the fish – when the girls go closer to the tank to talk to them they will automatically swim to the top thinking that they will give them food.
Currently we have 2 jack russel dogs, 2 love birds and 2 gold fish. As per my blog header, you can see that they form part of our family. But at one point we had 4 goldfish and a hamster who also formed part of the family but sadly died due to their lifespan.
Although our girls want more pets like a bunny, a turtle and another puppy; we have put a limit on the amount of pets we currently have. You see to own pets are costly. They need food, treats, special tablets for deworming and flees, tonics and if they are sick, you need to pay for care. Besides the cost, pets are not low maintenance. They require cleaning up after them, they need attention, socialization, training, grooming and you need to have a lot of patience.
My girls are now at an age where they are responsible for feeding, cleaning up after the pets and walking the dogs.
Besides the cons of owning a pet, there are so many pros as well.
Good reasons why a pet will be good for your child.
- Pets don’t judge and they give unconditional love.
- It acts as a companion and can help to increase your child’s verbal and reading skills. Pets become a child’s friend and give them the attention they need. Children feel more comfortable talking and reading to pets.
- Pets teach your child responsibility (read below how your child can help with caring for the pets).
- By having responsibility, social skills and improved verbal skills from interacting with pets. This will subsequently will give your child self confidence.
- Pets encourage exercise and play.
- By becoming attached, nurturing and forming an emotional bond with pets; it teaches children empathy, compassion and respect.
- Pets are good for a child’s health as it improves their immune system, lower the risk of allergies, improves mental health, stress and anxiety levels.
Teach your child responsibility towards the pet by encouraging the following:
- Let your child assist you with feeding the pets and giving them fresh water every day. As they grow older they need to learn to do it on their own.
- Involve them when washing and brushing the dogs.
- Let your child assist in cleaning the pets mess, kennels, cat litter box, cages and fish tank.
Although pets make great companions, be sure to select the right pet for your family. Make sure that you can afford having a pet around. That the pet fits into your lifestyle. You need to be committed to take care of the pet. It is important to put the safety of your family first and to show your children how to interact and respect pets.
Whether you adopt or purchase a pet; the rewards of owning one are great. If you are a pet owner and have children, how did your pets adapt to the fact that the children become part of the family and vice versa?