It’s that time of year when our kids are returning to school. Summer is ending and many kids are getting start-of-school jitters. Have you ever thought that having a pet at home may just help this transition? Think about it… a happy puppy to meet your children at the door when they get home on that first day of school, a snuggle with a kitty on a stressful day, a walk with the family dog after a long day sitting at a desk. Pets are great for kids… just make sure to teach them about animal safety and research which pet might be best for your family. Here are some great reasons why every kid just might want to have a pet!
Children who grow up with pets have less risk of allergies and asthma, studies have shown. Studies have also shown that pets relieve stress. If your kids are stressed with schoolwork, friends, or other activities, playing
with their pet helps to lower their blood pressure and stress levels overall. Petting an animal releases built-up tension and slows the heart rate down. So if your children had a rough day at school, the family dog may just prove to be their best friend and companion.
Pets are also helpful in childhood obesity, an unfortunate growing trend. Playing fetch or walking the dog will help keep your kids in shape! The fresh air and time away from TV and video games will benefit them as well.
Your dog or cat can even keep your kids smart! By reading to their pets, kids become more proficient readers, learning the subject matter, practice creativity and storytelling, all while bonding with their pet. If no brothers or sisters are at home, a pet is a perfect companion to read to! Pets will also help calm fears at night time when your child feels lonely.
Responsibility is Taught
Caring for an animal teaches kids responsibility. Teaching young children how to refill the water and food bowls, or let the dog out in the back yard, can help them feel like a valued and important part of the family. It will help your child to be a good pet owner, and someday a good parent. With assistance, let your child try to train your dog or even your cat. Basic commands like Sit or Speak will help your child gain confidence (and it’s fun to give treats to the pets during the training process). As a parent, it is fun to watch kids and pets interact. Children and animals usually have connections that will surprise you. Committing to an animal is a lifelong bond. After growing up with an pet, your child will someday have to say goodbye to their friend; this is tough emotionally, but also a good learning experience.
Teach young children vital things about dogs and cats.
• Never approach pets while they are eating, or from behind. This may strike fear and they may bite.
• Let them see you discipline in a positive manner so they too learn that way to discipline.
• Watch young children all the time when around a new animal. No matter how much you trust your pet, you never know what they can do when you are not there.
• Let your kids go to the vet with you. This will show them that the dog or cat needs doctor visits, just like them!
• Be aware that having a puppy or a kitten is like having a newborn again. Puppy proofing is just like child proofing. Make your home safe for everyone! And expect some accidents.
The benefits of having a family pet will stay with your children for the rest of their lives. So, when your child asks if he or she can get a puppy or kitten, do not jump to the word NO before exploring the reasons you might want to say YES.