by Andrej Kovačević

dog with a girl “Mom I want a cat,” or “Mom I want a dog,” or “Mom I want a…” (Whatever the latest phase of cool pet to have is) are common exclamations that you may hear from your child on more than one occasion. Oftentimes, these desires may be dismissed as being silly childhood fantasies. Parents may assume that their children will not be capable of caring for their pets by themselves. They may also assume that this is just a fleeting fantasy, another childhood desire.

After all, with children, one week they want a rabbit, the next they want the latest games console. However, getting a pet for your child can actually teach them a thing or two about responsibility. This article will discuss the ways in which having a pet can help your child with their development.

Reasons Your Kids Should Own Pets

Improved Social Skills

Research has proven that kids that live in a household with pets have improved social skills, confidence and self-esteem. Even just chattering with their pet and having a one-sided conversation as if it’s a real person helps them develop socially.

They Get More Exercise

rabbit and a girl

It’s no big secret that some kids these days are too dependent on technology. They sit cooped up inside, scrunched

over their games consoles and their tablets, never using their imagination. If this sounds like your kids, and they recoil in horror at the sunlight like a vampire then it’s time to consider getting them a pet. If kids can walk or play frisbee with a pet dog, they will be more motivated to go outside and be out and about. If they can build an assault course for their cute little hamster, they will be using their imagination and building important skills.

It Helps Them Handle Realities of Life

There may be occasions where you kid’s pets get sick and have to be taken to the veterinary nurse which is of course unfortunate, but it exposes your children to the realities of life and helps them deal with issues like sickness, the importance of healthcare, etc. Equally it helps your kids to understand how animals live and function. Vets and other professionals in the field of animal care have an animal qualification such as the certificate III in captive animals. These professionals know everything about caring for wild and exotic animals – from their nutritional requirements to managing the animal’s health and wellbeing and they can pass on useful information to your children. In a way, this is like an additional education about animal welfare and treatment.

They are Better Mentally

kid and 2 dogsIt’s not just adults that can experience stress or emotional and mental problems. Children too can suffer these things, particularly if they are worried about a certain event or transition in their lives (for example, going from elementary to high school) or they are being bullied or having difficulty making friends. Having a pet has been proven to reduce loneliness and anxiety in people of all ages. If your child has a bad day at school, no doubt their little faces will light up when they see their pet come bounding to the door to greet them.

They Have Less Allergy Risks

If you are a parent then it’s likely that you are aware of the potential impacts of raising your children in an incredibly sterile, clean environment. Children that are protected from bacteria never have the chance for their immune system to build up a tolerance or defense against it and so they are more likely to get sick from bacteria that they encounter later. After all, as much as we don’t want our children getting ill, we cannot exactly wrap them in bubble wrap and protect them from everything in the world. A little dirt and bacteria are actually good for a person’s development. In the same way, exposure to animals, and everything that comes with them, also helps build your children’s immune systems, and reduces the risk of them developing allergies later in life.

It Teaches Them About Being Responsible

child and a catLife is pretty easy as a child. Most of us would trade in our adult lives to have that carefree experience once again if we could. Kids don’t really have any responsibilities or commitments beside their school work – other than coming home, eating Mom’s cooking, complaining about having to eat their greens and then doing as they please. Having a pet teaches kids about responsibility. It teaches them that pets are for life, not just for Christmas. Your kids will learn to care for their pets according to a schedule – to feed them, clean them, etc. This helps aid them in preparation for a number of things to come later in life – from caring for a family and other people, to budgeting and managing a work schedule.