If you're debating whether or not to get your child a pet, here are some of the perks pet ownership offers which might help you.
12 March 2017| Last updated on 1 August 2017
It’s no secret that children love pets. Our kids clamor for stuffed puppies, collect books on ponies and download cat videos like there is no tomorrow. This obsession with creatures of all shapes and sizes often leads to a nonstop barrage of pleas for a pet.
And we often give in. In fact, 90 percent of all kids will live with a pet at some point during their youth.
1. Pets help kids learn
Educators are finding a child’s literacy and fluency is enhanced by reading aloud to pets. Kids are more relaxed when reading to animals and this leads to better comprehension and mastery
2. Animals provide comfort
According to a surveyed group of 5 year olds, 40 percent admitted when they feel sad, afraid, angry or need to vent, they turn to their beloved pets for comfort. These kids are onto something, because cuddling with pets reduces levels of stress, loneliness, and anxiety.
3. Owning pets can strengthen their immune systems
A study hailing from the Medical College of Georgia, has found a correlation between the number of pets a family owns and a decrease in risk of developing specific allergies.
4. They teach responsibility
Caring for a pet provides plenty of opportunities for our sons and daughters to take care of another living animal. By caring for a pet’s needs, a child will be able to see how their actions directly affect someone else.
5. Pets help develop emotional intelligence
Children who own pets typically display improved abilities to control impulses, develop empathy, show sympathy and nurture others. In addition, pets help increase a child’s social skills and self-esteem. These lifelong skills can improve a child’s happiness and ability to thrive as adults.
When should children get a pet?
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy deciding when a child is ready to get a pet. Many animal professionals agree around the age of six a child should be able to handle caring for a pet. However, they will also tell you there is no magic age. Before agreeing to a pet, experts recommend examining a child’s maturity, gentleness and ability to follow instructions.
It is important to consider your lifestyle before adopting a pet to see if they will be a good fit with the family. If you travel a lot or have limited living space, a smaller pet might be what you are looking for. Also, consider the ages of your children, obligations and work schedules before choosing a new family member.
SEE ALSO: 10 Car Safety Tips for Your Pet
Take some time to research and implement a plan so you don’t end up regretting your choice. Research common health problems and the general temperament of a pet before bringing one home. It’s important to avoid making an impulsive decision, because we ultimately want the best for our child and animal. Too many pets are turned over to animal shelters, euthanized or abandoned simply because their families aren’t prepared.
About the Author
Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics.