Welcoming a new furry friend into your family can be a wonderful experience for both you and your child. Pets offer companionship, entertainment, and can teach valuable life lessons. From fostering responsibility and empathy to promoting physical activity and reducing stress, pets can have a positive impact on a child's development and well-being. So, whether you're considering adopting a dog, cat, or even a hamster, read on to learn how your child can benefit from having a loving and loyal companion by their side.
Pets can have a huge impact on spreading positivity around, not just on children but also on the whole family. Whether it's a super-energetic dog, a cuddly cat, or any other pet, they have an enriching effect on a child’s life.
With a shift in our society to smaller, nuclear families and busy schedules, pets remind us to slow down and live in the moment.
Studies have shown that when children interact with animals, it leads to an increase in the production of oxytocin, the “feel-good” hormone. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which can have a profound impact on children’s mental and emotional well-being. Pets provide the best support and companionship to children, no matter whatever mood they might be in. From becoming the best party pals to the best comfort pad when things are down, pets have the magic to turn around the situation with their love and affection.
Along with being the best playmate for your child, pets provide a wide range of benefits for their growth and development. Adopting a pet can bring numerous benefits to a family. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. Better immunity in children:
Studies by researcher James E. Gern, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, says that kids with a pet around in their house tend to have a stronger immune system and are less likely to develop childhood allergies and asthma. Research shows that kids with pets have an antibody in their immune systems and were able to fight off infections such as colds and flu better than those children without pets.
2. Pets help in Learning:
While there are different sources of knowledge, pets provide a profound range of learning. Many educators have used animals (mainly dogs) for therapy sessions in schools for developmentally challenged kids as they help in improving reading skills. Studies suggest that kids who were reluctant to read out in front of their peers were more confident to read comfortably in front of animals, as they seemed to be non-judgemental.
Interacting with animals can help children develop their motor skills, attention spans, and problem-solving skills. This can also help improve their academic performance, as children who have worked with animals are often more engaged in learning activities and exhibit better memory retention.
3. Pets provide comfort and care to kids:
It's always a boon to have someone to talk to and show them all of your different moods unfiltered. For many kids, it is their pets that serve as their best companions and take in all that comes from them. Times when they are sad, tired, angry, or have a secret that can no longer be kept, your pet pal always eases the tension. Also, a study suggests that having a pet around makes kids less anxious and withdrawn.
4. Teaches kids responsibility and empathy:
Taking the pet for a walk or feeding them on time makes kids responsible and teaches them to take care of them. Setting a routine for the pet in turn gives children a sense of achievement and encourages them to follow through. Taking care of a pet also teaches them empathy and helps them learn the art of nurturing. Kids who learn to take care of their pets grow to become sensible and responsible citizens.
5. Improved physical and mental health:
Taking a walk with your pet or going for a run with them actually serves as a good dose of physical activity and helps in improving health. Studies have shown that pet ownership can reduce blood pressure and increase physical activity levels and social interaction. This comes in very handy when dealing with exam stress or when loaded with homework.
Pets are great stress busters and help in warding off loneliness and depression. Just cuddle them up and your worries are sure to melt away. In the case of a bird pet, especially a parrot or a budgie that can talk, it helps children have a pal at home and also to improve their social skills.
6. Improves Bonding:
When you have to take care of a pet and nurture them it becomes a way for the family to come together, bond, and communicate. Taking them on a vacation or simply taking them to a park on a weekend makes up for a great family time where the pet always makes sure it's a fun evening.
So, How do we start?
While having a pet sounds fun and exciting, it could seem a daunting task given our fast-paced life and many obligations. Pets come with additional responsibilities such as providing proper care, feeding, and veterinary attention. So if you are someone sitting on the fence and are yet to decide whether to get this new family member, here are a few tips to start with.
1. Try Pet rock:
A non-living pet like a “pet rock” is an equivalent of a “trial pack” for pets. It can help you decide whether your child is ready to take care of another living being. While a pet rock is not a real pet, it can still provide a fun and interactive way for children to learn to care for a pet. You can set routines through pretend play such as providing food and water, creating a comfortable living space, and showing love and attention. Additionally, children can use their imaginations to create stories and personalities for their pet rock, fostering creativity and storytelling skills.
2. Get to know about Pet requirements:
Before you bring home your new pet, there are certain things that you can consider, the cost involved, Does your house have enough space for the new member, Society restrictions, etc. If you don't have much time to spare, consider a pet that needs low maintenance and care. Check about the vaccinations and other medical necessities for the pet beforehand.
Also, you could check for Pet daycares nearby, for occasions when you can't take them along, and also Pet-friendly restaurants and vacation spots for spending a good time with your cuddly friend.
3. Help Stray animals:
Taking care of strays is a good start for you to be prepared for the time when you get one for yourself. Feeding them, and playing with them will make the whole process of adoption a smooth one. Getting your street dog a new blanket or regularly feeding the temple cow will set a great example for kids and eventually it will make them more aware of the situation of the pets nearby.
4. Adopt a smaller pet:
So you have decided on getting a new pet but you do not have the energy to spare for the regular juggling that comes along. Check on the breed of the pet and get one that does not require attention every minute. You could start with a smaller pet, or one that is not high on energy, like a cat or a fish, or a bird. You could also go for a turtle or a lizard, which are low on maintenance, depending on your preference.
5. Slowly move to a bigger pet when you are ready:
Kids get all excited to have a pet and think of all the fun and excitement with it, but it's up to the parents to make it a positive experience and that the pets receive the care they need for their entire lives. So once you have an experience with a smaller pet or you are used to interacting and taking care of a stray regularly, handling a new high-energy pup is going to be a great experience for you and your family.
Pets can have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of children. From providing unconditional love and companionship to teaching responsibility and empathy to improve physical and mental health, the benefits of pet ownership for kids are numerous. By fostering a love for animals and nature, pets can also help to lay the foundation for a lifelong appreciation for the natural world.