Most children have asked their parents to get them a pet, but the decision is a difficult one. Kids might go into the arrangement with good intentions, but they won’t always put the promised amount of effort into pet care. Furthermore, pets can be a financial drain, not to mention making a mess of the house. Nonetheless, there are some great ways that pets can help children grow and develop.
#1 Teaches them respect
It’s natural that a child will be the center of attention and sometimes even have the run of the house! That isn’t always possible with a pet, however. No matter how mild-mannered they seem, pets like cats and dogs won’t tolerate being roughly handled. For the safety of both the pet and the child, parents need to teach their kids to respect animals. This includes their space, their behavior, and, perhaps most importantly of all, their body language. Kids raised to gauge a pet’s mood and treat the animal with respect naturally learn empathy. They understand when an animal needs space, when it’s feeling stressed or upset, and how to behave accordingly. These are, of course, important life skills.
#2 Teach them responsibility
No child should ever be charged with caring for a pet by themselves. Animals have unique needs, and kids should always be supervised, but a little responsibility can go a long way. Teaching children how to look after an animal helps them grow into more capable adults. You can start small, perhaps allowing a child to groom or feed a pet, and work from there, giving more responsibility as and when appropriate. Although owning a pet can sometimes feel like spinning plates, specialized pet service search engines like Exceptional Pets now put all your needs in one place. They allow pet owners to search for vets, food, grooming, and much more. That takes the strain out of the logistics of pet ownership, freeing up parents to give kids more responsibility.
#3 Helps them to be more active
Some pets are more active than others. Dogs, for example, need to be walked regularly, and they’ll also play in the park for hours, happily partaking in games of fetch. Other pets like cats are less energy-intensive, but they’ll still play, encouraging children to get more active. This has a few benefits. Not only does it make them physically fitter and yield some mental health benefits, but it helps them to burn off all that excess energy – making your life easier too!
#4 Keeps them away from screens
This is a big concern for any parent. With more games consoles, smartphones, and tablets available than ever, it’s easy for a child to spend all of their time glued to a screen. Pets create a healthy and compelling diversion. Even smaller pets give children somewhere to focus their attention that isn’t a computer game or an app. Interacting with a cat or playing with a rabbit is mentally stimulating. Pets can keep children occupied for hours, and this isn’t just during play time – kids will learn and develop without even knowing it.