Children benefit in endless ways from their relationship with a pet.
There is far more to pets than meets the eye. Of course they’re fun to have around. Puppies and kittens are cute and cuddly and quickly become members of your family. Both adults and children enjoy cuddling them and watching them grow up.
But there are deeper, more significant benefits a pet can bring to your family and most important, to your children. Here are just a few ways your kids can learn from their pet:
- Respect and loving kindness–love for an animal leads to a broader respect for both animals and humans. Being kind to a pet can shape a child’s behaviour. You will rarely find a child who owns a pet mistreating any animal. And this will also influence their behavior towards other children. Your pet teaches your child to be kind and loving.
- Loyalty – if you have a pet you will never have to explain the meaning of the word ‘loyalty’. This is one of the great lessons humans can learn from pets.
- Responsibility–a pet provides the opportunity for children to assume responsibility for certain care duties such as feeding and grooming. Giving your child a specific job that relates to their pet builds self-discipline.
- Healthy activity– make sure your child joins you in walking your dog or playing ball or fetch outside. This reminds them what fun it is to play physical games and gets them away from the computer or TV.
- Independence– the companionship a pet provides helps a child to be less dependent on their parents or siblings. In other words having a furry friend helps build self-reliance. With a pet around you’re never lonely.
- Communication– because pets can’t speak as we humans do, children learn non-verbal communication skills, like touch, voice tone rather than words and ways to communicate pleasure, affection and discipline.
- Health– a pet can help the recovery of a sick child. Love is a powerful healing force.
- Lessons of life– through their pets children learn about birth, growth, illness and death. They experience anxiety and grief and learn how to cope with these emotions. When a pet dies they find out about burial, closure and how to move on. The stages of a pet’s life mirror our own lives.