All pet owners know how much our furry little friends make our lives better. A pet near us means we will be healthier, happier, stronger, and more open to people and to life. Namely, a dog, a cat, a bird, a hamster, all of these are companions that give us unconditional love.
We all want the best for our children, we want them to grow up strong and healthy, adventurous and stable, curious and imaginative. We strive towards preserving that childlike wonder and innocence in the modern world, while still teaching them how to actually survive in it, how to not be lead astray by their own wonder and curiosity. The article below notes the benefits pets have for our children, both in terms of their physical and their mental health, their responsibility, and their empathy.
There are tangible, biological benefits to health and stress reduction
There are two very important ways a pet improves your child’s health. First of all, it reduces the stress your child feels throughout the day. Remember, just because your kid doesn’t have your obligations doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t have any stress. School, preschool, it can all be difficult for your child. With a pet, they get some comfort. Petting an animal lowers cortisol levels, the stress hormone.
The second way pets help is through lowering said stress hormone. Cortisol messes with our immune systems, it puts a strain on them, making us more susceptible to diseases and just getting sick. Furthermore, being exposed to a dog’s or cat’s germs form a young age means you are building up their immune system from an early age. You are essentially toughening them up through exposure.
Finally, they will just get a lot more exercise since they are going to walk them regularly, as well as playing and roughhousing. Anything that pries them, and you, away from a computer or smartphone screen.
Responsibility and confidence
Many parents get their children a pet as a way to teach them how to be more responsible, surer of themselves. Namely, getting a pet means they have very strong, important motivation to actually learn how to be responsible. You can bury them in chores, bribe them, threaten them with curfews and lower their pocket money, but you can get much better, more organic results with a pet.
Namely, a pet is a living, breathing thing they love and care about. There is no better way to motivate them to learn how to be responsible then to care about their favorite member of their family.
On a practical level, this means they will get up at the same time every day (or most days) to walk the dog, or to feed the cat. They will clean up after their pets, taking care of bird cages, litter boxes, and hamster wheels. You can even send them to the pets store if they’re old enough.
On your part, you need to teach them properly, instead of them getting the animal, or themselves, into trouble. Talk to your veterinarian, and give very clear instructions when it comes to diet. Read articles from good websites, like, Totally Goldens, or maybe pick up a magazine recommended by your vet. Your child will most likely want to feed your pets as much as possible, just because they see that they like it. You have to explain to them why this doesn’t work. Or, they may not understand why walking your dog is so important, or why you can’t feed xyz to your pet.
Help children develop empathy
A pet gives unconditional love – they do not judge, they don’t care who you are, where you come from, who your parents are – a pet will love you and your child unconditionally. They give comfort, support, they listen intently… You, your kids, your family are the number one thing in their lives. They are the best, most loyal friends anyone can hope for.
This showing of unconditional love can teach your children how to be loving back, they help them build empathy. Furthermore, caring for a dog or a cat or whatever pet you have teaches them to be empathic, to put the needs of someone, or something, else in front of their own needs.
They also get the opportunity to practice their verbal skills even when they are not in the company of other people. Young children will get to talk a lot more, they will communicate to their pets, explain things to them, in general, keep their minds occupied.
A pet can do wonders for your children’s development. It teaches them what unconditional love is, what it looks like. You can also help your kids develop empathy, as well as work towards improving their verbal skills and communicative skills. They will become more confident and responsible by taking care of the pets, and they will also be healthier due to lower stress and regular exposure to their furry best friends.
About the Author
Kimberly Anderson is a simple girl that has a weak spot for dogs, cappuccino and sleep. She’s also a writer and everlasting enthusiast who believes that there is nothing better starting your day with a hot cup of coffee.