Every kid at some point has begged their parents for a pet, which isn’t surprising since around 67% of US households own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Most parents likely worry about the added responsibilities and financial obligations that come with a pet. But did you know that simply having a pet around, whether it’s a cat or an iguana, can benefit the health and development of your children?
That said, here are some advantages for kids who grow up with pets.
It Gives Your Kids an Invaluable Life Lesson in Responsibility
If you’re looking for a chance to teach your kid essential life lessons, there’s no better way than getting a pet. After all, taking care of a living being is way different from washing the dishes. Whether it’s walking or feeding the dogs, these are all tasks that teach your kids more about life — encouraging the value of responsibility and empathy.
You can make this more effective by enrolling your child and their pet in dog training courses, where professionals will teach them ways to improve their relationship with their pet and improve the role their dog plays in their life.
They’re Bound to Have a Healthier Immune System
Numerous studies regarding pediatric health have discovered that kids who lived with pets during their early years developed a better immune system than those who didn’t. Experts believe that exposure to pets might have positively boosted the maturation of their immune systems during infancy. Plus, when kids fell ill, they discovered that those with pets had a shorter recovery period than those who didn’t live with a pet.
It Improves Your Kids’ Emotional Intelligence
Owning a pet allows your child to practice their emotional intelligence (EQ) over time. After all, caring for another life requires your child to become more compassionate. Feeding or walking pets when they have other things they’d instead do means that they’ll need to step outside of themselves and become selfless. Overall, having a pet is an invaluable aid for helping kids become more caring, gain empathy for the needs of others and themselves.
Additionally, caring for a pet can build your kid’s self-esteem since accomplishing these small tasks, whether it’s filling up a water dish or food bowl, helps them feel like they’re competent — giving them a sense of accomplishment. All of these are bound to improve your child’s emotional intelligence, reducing their anxiety levels and stress.
It Encourages Them to Play More
Children that grow up with pets are likely inclined to go outside more often for daily walks, exercises, or merely playing with their pet, whether it’s a cat or dog. A study from the University of London proved that kids, including disabled children, exercised more when living in a household with a pet. So, if you’re trying to find a way to pry your children off their gadgets and move around, adopt a cat, dog, or other pets they can play with safely, generally encouraging kids to move around more and have fun.
It Reduces the Risk of Obesity
Since having a pet around can naturally make your kids more energetic and playful, it reduces their risks of becoming obese. In fact, studies have shown that even infants exposed to pets through their early years are less likely to develop childhood obesity, ensuring healthier growth for your children.
It Improves Their Communication and Socialization Skills
Having a pet around can help improve your kid’s communication skills. Several studies have proven that kids who grew up with a pet developed mental skills, benefitting their approach to communicating with other people. Additionally, having a pet can help children socialize better with other kids of their age, thanks to their boosted self-confidence and communication skills.
They Can Make Your Kids Happier
One of the most significant benefits of having pets in early childhood is that pets make kids generally happy. Interacting with animals has been scientifically proven to raise levels of serotonin, known as the happy hormone — naturally inducing happiness to kids. But science aside, simply playing with dogs, cats, and other pets is just fun, and it’s guaranteed to brighten any kids’ day.
Bringing a pet into a family with kids isn’t a decision to take lightly since many, but there are numerous benefits for kids growing up with pets. Those mentioned are just a few of the advantages of having a pet around your kids, helping your child become a responsible, compassionate, and happier individual as they grow up.