Six Reasons Why Pets are Good for Kids
If your kids have been begging for a dog, cat, hamster or something more exotic, it is easy to dismiss the request without a second thought. After all, pet ownership is a big responsibility and impacts the entire family. However, if you do think that owning a pet could be something that “fits” your family, perhaps it would interest you to know why pets are good for kids.
Pet ownership offers many benefits for children. Consider these six ways that pets can help your kids:
May prevent allergies and asthma
While those who already have allergies or asthma may have to be careful about pets they adopt, in households with no allergies, adopting pets can help prevent issues. According to the NCBI, several studies “suggest that pet exposure, particularly in early childhood, may have beneficial effects and may prevent the development of atopic (allergic) disorders.”
Kids can practice reading to pets
It may seem strange, but when you have pets you can encourage your children to practice their reading skills on a cat or dog. Not only does the child have a non-judgmental audience, but the pet will love the attention!
Pet ownership teaches responsibility
While you cannot adopt a pet and expect that your child will take full responsibility, you CAN make pet chores part of your child’s weekly chores. This responsibility will help your child as he or she grows older and looks for a job or raises his or her family.
Cuddling a pet can ease stress
You know that being around a pet makes you feel good, but did you know it can have an impact on your emotions? Mia Cobb, a pet-human interaction expert, stated: “They can do really good things for our well-being, improve our self-esteem and make us more physically active. There’s also the added benefit of making us more connected.”
Owning a pet develops nurturing skills
Children who grow up with pets learn care-taking and nurturing skills. These cannot easily be taught, but must be experienced. This can be especially beneficial for children who do not have younger brothers and sisters.
Kids with pets may get more exercise
Children who are responsible for dogs, or even cats, may get more exercise. Not only do dogs need to be walked, but simply playing with the animals in the house will get your children moving and may help kids to develop an interest in something outside of the television, computer and video games.
While these benefits are enormous, it is important that you make sure a pet fits your home and lifestyle. If it does, perhaps now is the time to consider giving a cat, dog or another pet a home. Why not check out your local shelter and see if one bonds with you and your family?
A study by Dennis Ownby, MD, a noted pediatrician from Augusta, Georgia stated that “having multiple pets actually decreases a child’s risk of developing certain allergies. He found that the children who were exposed to two or more dogs or cats as babies were less than half as likely to develop common allergies as kids who had no pets in the home.”