Animal lovers have long argued against dismissive spouses that having a pet would be good for the children, but they might not have truly believed it! However, recent studies have shown that a family pet can have tremendous benefits for children growing up in the home. The benefits of a family pet go far beyond an animal that children can bond with. Let’s take a look at four of the most important ways in which owning a family bet can benefit your children.
Comfortable With Animals
We all know children, and even some adults, that are terrified of all kinds of animals. This could be cats, dogs or even hamsters. Unfortunately, this generally occurs in two instances. Either the child has been hurt by an animal or the child has not ever owned a family pet. Children that have an irrational fear of animals grow up in an environment surrounded by what they perceive as threats. Owning a family pet negates all this; children no longer view domestic animals as something to be unnecessarily fearful of.
We live in an increasingly sterile world, and this has led to many studies that show that children are not being exposed to enough bacteria and stimulants that help shape their immune system in the formative years. Children that grow up with pets are exposed to far more allergens and bacteria, and as a result, are less likely to have allergies and will have a more robust immune system.
Owning a pet is not all about fun and games, although that is the most enjoyable element! Pets have requirements, including being fed, watered, cleaned and exercised. Giving children some of these tasks at a young age is a fantastic way of teaching them about their own responsibilities. Learning about responsibility is fundamental to a child’s mental development, and owning a family pet is a subtle yet incredibly effective way of doing this.
Creates Bonds and Friendship
A family pet can often start to become less of a pet and more of a member of the family. For children, this can be tremendously rewarding. Many children bond fiercely with their pets and view them as a close friend. Pets offer comfort when we are sad, a listening ear when we are angry, and companionship when we are lonely. Even in death, pets can teach a child about grief and how to deal with it. For this reason, owning a family pet can be hugely beneficial in shaping a child’s development.