There are really many practical reasons to why sometimes we choose not to have pets, but I’m sure those of you who don’t have them yet, plan to have one in the future someday, right? There are many positive reasons why children should own pets. Not only do pets teach children many life skills, they are also wonderful friends.
Here are several positive reasons you might not have thought of to bring a pet home for your kids:
Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma
According to a study by Dennis Ownby, MD, a pediatrician and head of the allergy and immunology department of the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta, having multiple pets actually decreases a child’s risk of developing certain allergies. His research tracked a group of 474 babies from birth to about age 7. He found that the children who were exposed to two or more dogs or cats as babies were less than half as likely to develop common allergies as kids who had no pets in the home. Children who had animals had fewer positive skin tests to indoor allergens—like pet and dust-mite allergens—and also to outdoor allergens such as ragweed and grass. Other studies have suggested that an early exposure to pets may decrease a child’s risk of developing asthma.
Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings
A pet is often the focus of activities that families do together. Everyone takes the dog for a walk, or shares in grooming and feeding him, or gets down on the floor and plays with him. There are even benefits from simply watching a cat chase his tail or a fish swim in his tank. Spending time like this offers the wonderful potential of slowing down the hectic pace of modern life. If someone asks what you’ve been doing, you might respond “nothing.” And in this era of overscheduled children and parents who are constantly on the go, “nothing” can be an important thing to do.
Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem
Along with responsibility for a pet comes the building of self-confidence. When children are successful at raising their pets, they feel good about themselves.
In turn, their self-esteem increases and they carry a confident air about them. They are, in a sense, proud of their accomplishments.
Kids with pets get outside more to go for walks, run and play and enjoy all the associated health benefits
Pets, especially dogs, need exercise and play. The activities that children participate in with their pets are usually physical.
This allows boys and girls to stay fit. In general, families spend more time outside when they have pets. The sunshine and fresh air are good for everyone. Learning about the need for exercise for pets to stay healthy helps children apply the same concepts to their own wellbeing.
Feeding and caring for a pet encourages childhood responsibility
Children with pets develop a sense of responsibility and care for others early on in life. Pets need care and attention all the time. They depend on their humans to feed, entertain, and exercise them. Children who are active in raising their pets usually learn how to be empathetic and compassionate. Learning how to be responsible for another creature will allow the youngsters to better take care of themselves as well.
It is important for pet owners to help their children take care of the pets, gradually releasing responsibility to them over time. When they are young, children can help their parents fill the water or food bowls. As they get older, the assistance can gradually increase.