Pets do more for our families than simply being a fun, playful ball of energy. From making sure we have their pet needs covered, to taking care of their wellbeing, we give a lot of love to our furry friends—and they give it back tenfold. Pets, especially cats and dogs, have been proven to help with the early development of kids of all ages, by teaching them responsibility, helping them discover empathy and a range of other social cues.
So how can pets provide a strong influence on your child’s emotional development? We’ll delve into this, and how in doing so it can create a very special, unbreakable bond.
Pets help teach social behaviours
Pets are a great way to get your kids to take part and play a role in caring for another creature. It makes sense—when kids get to take part and play a role in the care of their pet, they have to be more aware of their own decisions and how they impact their pets (and those around them). And it starts with something as simple as play time (sharing) and dinner time (responsibility).
Kids with pets also tend to show more confidence in social settings, particularly when talking about their pet. They show a sense of pride in their fur-buddy, excitedly discussing all their favourite things about Fido. Just try and stop them!
Pets can showcase compassion
Kids with pets often display acts of compassion and empathy at an earlier age than those without pets. They quickly learn there is a balance of playtime and rest time. While they themselves love to play all day long, they learn their pet needs personal space and time to sleep, eat and rest regularly to keep being their bestest buddy.
Involving the kids in training your pet can help them connect the dots around good behaviour and rewards. For example, you may use a squeaky toy during training, giving your dog plenty of play time in return for doing a trick or displaying a positive behaviour. It’s a good way to show your kids positive deeds have positive outcomes.
Pets offer a great way to reduce stress
We all know that with every pat of a furry friend, a little more stress leaves our bodies. But how do dogs and other pets truly help us feel more calm during difficult times? The answer: simply by being there. Being a stable constant in a world of chaos gives the family, adults and kids alike, comfort and familiarity. And their unconditional love is a nice benefit, too!
Whose turn to feed Fido?
It’s the age-old battle: Kids begging for a pet, then leaving the rest to mum and dad. Having a pet is a great way to instil strong ethics and responsibility for everything that’s involved in looking after Fifi or Fido. It’s not all fun and games! It means having to get off the caboose to feed them, or change their litter tray, or pick up their poos in the yard (with a poo bag of course!). It provides that little dose of the realities of life, and what it takes to care for and think about something (or someone) other than themselves.
So if you weren’t sure whether a pet might be beneficial for your family, here’s a few more reasons why a pet could work wonders. In saying that, it’s always down to your personal preference and what works best for you and your family.
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