If a child has the opportunity to grow up around animals, there are some incredible benefits you can’t let go. Whether your little ones have a dog, cat, fish, turtle, chicken, horse, hamster, lizard or pig as their companion’s animal, the opportunities for help and growth will be endless and priceless.
Benefits of pets and animals
The benefits of having an animal in the house are quite numerous. Aside from providing a memorable connection with a pet, working and playing with animals will help children with their emotional development, emotions, physical health and more. Overall, the decision to have an animal around for kids is not one that’s taken lightly.
1. Kids with animals as pets have fewer allergies and asthma
Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing allergies or asthma. Studies show that kids exposed to two or more dogs or cats as children had about half the risk of developing common allergies as kids who did not have any pets. Kids who had animals also had fewer positive skin tests to indoor allergens like pet and dust mites and to outdoor allergens like ragweed, grass, and weed pollen.
2. Kids with pets spend more time outside
Swimming, biking, or going on an adventure with your dog is a great incentive to get your kids outside. We all know the importance of getting your kids outside. Kids who have pets get more physical activity due to playing and doing chores together that require physical exertion. Kids who have dogs in particular tend to go out for long walks, run and play more too, enjoying all the health benefits that comes with it. One study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that children with dogs were out there an average of 325 minutes per day and spent 11 minutes more than those without a dog during this time doing extracurricular activities.
3. Animals provide lessons about life, including reproduction, birth, illnesses, accidents, death, and bereavement
Throughout the life of an animal, children are exposed to a wide variety of emotions, stages and processes. This allows them to develop and grow as individuals, which is invaluable. Pets teach children about life’s joys, sorrow and beauty.
4. Animals provide responsibility and foster leadership in kids
Sometimes it’s helpful for kids to start learning at a young age. A great way to teach them is by imprinting on your child the experience of caring for an animal and watching them grow. As time goes on, your child will gain an understanding of responsibility and leadership skills, which can have a lasting impact on their life.
5. Animals teach kids about patience and self-control
Some people want a pet for the companionship and love, not the maintenance. However, inevitably you’re going to have some problems with your animal. They might be over-excited, jump/bark too much, slobber, claw, bite/peck, or destroy your personal belongings. The better you’re able to handle these things is what makes a child more patient and understanding. Learning to be patient with an animal even when it is frustrating will teach children self-control. Children will learn that the softer voice and calm actions in a firm voice has a better effect than yelling or throwing a tantrum ever could.
6. Animals are excellent listeners and safe recipients of secrets and private thoughts
Animals are fantastic listeners! Many educators agree: they’re great listeners and give children permission to read aloud without judgement or critique. Some children are more comfortable reading with an animal than with a family member, especially during sensitive times. And animals are excellent at keeping secrets. Children can chat freely with their pets, telling them secrets or things that happen in their day, friendships, or relationships and no one else will interrupt them. This makes working together so much easier for both parties.
7. Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings
Animals have a way of bringing families together. As the dog is often the focus of family activities, children learn to play and share with their siblings, even when they are doing these activities for the first time. Even though siblings argue frequently, having a pet can distract them from that and create cherished memories that last a lifetime. Enjoy those memories with your siblings now because you never know if you’ll only be able to enjoy those memories when you’re older.
8. Animals teach kids about the act of sharing
Most of the ways kids bond with their pets is actually through sharing things. One example is sharing food and drink. They also share thoughts and time. Kids look forward to the special moments when they give their pets something, such as a treat, gift, or toy. That’s what animals never have to ask for! Children learn to share out of kindness instead of being expected; asked or forced.