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8 Reasons Your Child Must Own a Pet

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Kids begging for a puppy?

There are numerous benefits that having pets can provide kids. It is easy for children to warm up to the idea of pet ownership. However, it is still up to parents to ensure a positive experience and see to it that pet the will receive the care and attention it needs.

Your child may only have the fun of having a pet in mind, but as their parent, you must help them understand that this involves a lot of effort, time and practice. At the same time, it’s important to help them see that all the work involved in sharing your home and life with a pet is nothing compared to the unconditional love that they will surely receive from a well-loved and well-cared-for pet.

Here are eight compelling reasons for you to let your child have a pet:

1. Pets help reduce anxiety.

Your child can feel less worried when they know that there is someone happy to keep them company and comfort them at home. Dr. Gail F. Melson, a developmental psychologist, found that children who turn to pets for emotional support were less withdrawn and anxious than those who did not.

2. Pets teach empathy.

Caring for a pet can teach your child how to be empathetic. They can learn how to observe and read the needs of their pet. (Does he need to go outside? Is he hungry?)

Remember that empathy is a skill that can be taught.

A pet will teach your child that if they experience fear or anger, they should not take it out on other people or creatures. In other words, pets act as a confidante, and interacting with pets provides children a positive way to work through anger and fear. As such, they do not learn to project such emotions to other children like bullies do.

3. Pets give children a sense of responsibility.

Kids as young as three years old can manage simple tasks, including choosing the right dog food, filling their pet’s water or dog food bowls. As they grow older, they can walk and groom their pet.

But responsibility goes beyond that. Since your child spends plenty of time with their pets, they can also be tasked with sharing the pet’s most accurate health information during vet visits.  

4. Pets build socialization and verbal communication skills.

Perhaps you notice that even kids who are still learning to talk tend to chat with pets. This implies that pets give not just emotional and social support, but also cognitive language skill support.

Just the presence of a pet will provide a verbal stimulus to help your child socialize and talk with another being.

5. Pets keep kids active and help reduce their screen time.

Dogs have to be regularly walked, so kids can fit their pet with dog adventure products and accompany them outside to walk, run and play. Cats, on the other hand, can help kids become more active by playing with toys.

This will inspire children to put down their gadgets. Interacting with pets helps reduce screen time.

6. Pets help kids become confident readers.

Does your child struggle with reading? A pet can help. A study at Tufts University revealed that students who read to therapy dogs during after school activities programs demonstrated better attitudes toward reading. Children feel pets are less judgmental in their listening.

7. Pets build immunity.

Your child’s immune system can get stronger when you have a pet at home. Pets help reduce your child’s risk of allergies because exposure to pet dander has been suggested to improve the developing immune system of a baby. Moreover, pet ownership can significantly decrease cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

8. Pets give unconditional love.

Finally, pets give a child (especially lonely kids or those experiencing sibling rivalry) someone to talk to. Moreover, a pet can give support and comfort, and listen to kids without consequence or judgment. Pets can become your kids’ best buddy and this unconditional love will further boost your child’s confidence and self-esteem.

Growing up caring for a pet can enrich your child’s life in many ways. In fact, this can be one of the greatest gifts you can give. So consider helping your child find a pet to love.

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