It is inevitable that your kids will one day ask you for a pet. Mine certainly have and the begging can go on for days, weeks, months. The pleas can start as early as age 3 when they dream of bedtime snuggles and running around the garden with their dog; watching TV with a kitty on their lap who looks at them adoringly. Our children’s perception is of unconditional love and comfort and this is something all humans crave.
As adults we know owning a pet comes with huge responsibility and this can cause us to rule “no” outright to our imploring children. But what are the real benefits to children of having a pet at home and do they outweigh our perceived concerns?
- Having a pet teaches empathy. Caring for another being enables your child to be sensitive to the needs of others and to put these needs before their own.
- Pets positively affect your kids’ emotional and mental health. Pets don’t judge, respond positively to affection and have a therapeutic impact on children by raising their endorphin levels and reducing stress and anxiety. This and the following point is generally enough to convince most parents of the positives of pet ownership.
- A pet can teach confidence and responsibility. Involving your child in the daily chores required to care for a pet teaches them to be accountable, to be responsible and to learn skills which will serve them in later life. Developing feelings of competency is linked to boosting self-esteem.
- Physical wellbeing. Children who own pets, especially dogs, receive more physical, daily exercise than children who do not.
- Social Skills. There is a positive correlation between looking after a pet and improving your child’s social and verbal skills.
- It’s a lifetime commitment. You must consider food, exercise, love, and companionship on a daily basis according to Pet Expert, Kate Barrington.
- Affordability. Vaccinations, neutering of cats, collars and leashes, pet food, health emergencies and more all have a financial implication. Estimates of pet costs are approximately $1000 per year.
- Lifestyle. Do you travel frequently? Is your home pet-friendly? Do you have adequate space? Welcoming a Saint Bernard to your 2 bedroomed apartment is not recommended. A pet of the feline variety would be a more suitable choice. Important consideration should be given to the needs of the pet in conjunction with the facilities/time you have.
Science-backed research tells us owning a pet is not only beneficial for our kids but is positive for us too, making our lives happier and healthier. Spending quality time with your child, looking after the family pet together leads to treasured experiences and memory making.
For those searching for unconditional love and to raise the self-esteem and confidence of their children, the answer may very well lie in saying “yes” to those pets, please.
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.