If you are a family with kids and a pet, it may seem as though having your children around helps to make the life of your pet much happier – thanks to the endless playtime and cuddles that they so willingly give.
But the rewards of the kids-pet relationship works both ways, for there are many things that children can learn from taking care of a pet.
Here are some important life lessons that unfold when children are exposed to having a pet in their lives.
From feeding to taking them out on walks and showering them with cuddles – together with cleaning up their mess – when children are given the opportunity to care for their pet, they are learning how to care for another living creature. Yes, even younger children can help with feeding and enjoy playtime with their furry friends, as long as mum and dad are watching closely.
From day one, children learn that they should be gentle when touching their pet and tending to their needs. They learn that pets should not be disturbed when they are eating or sleeping – in the same way that they appreciate not being bothered when they are napping or enjoying a meal. This, in itself, is an amazing way to teach and demonstrate to children what respecting others truly means.
Ask anyone who has a pet at home and they will tell you that it’s extremely easy to spill your heart out and give your all to your pet – for you can be assured that they will offer you unconditional support in return.
That is one of the reasons why pets make wonderful trusted companions for children and help your child to build trust in their relationships with others as well.
With trust comes loyalty, and a pet’s loyalty toward its owner is like no other. This teaches your children the importance of showing loyalty to their beloved pet.
As with other beautiful moments in life, the bond between your child and pet takes time. Through this experience, your child will learn the true value of patience while they watch how your new pet takes time to get comfortable in your home.
Children learn that caring for a pet involves showing compassion, understanding their needs and empathising with them. This teaches them to be kind to others and to consider the needs of others before that of their own.
One of the greatest things about pets is their ability to show unconditional love, which can help to boost your child’s self-esteem, knowing that their presence mean the world to someone else.
Children also get to feel the satisfaction of assuming the responsibility of taking care of their pet’s needs.
8. Opening up
Much like babies, dogs can be an amazing “ice breaker” in social settings too.
When your child takes your dog out for walks, they will be encouraged to interact with others who show interest in their pet. In fact, studies have shown that pets may also help children with autism develop social skills.
9. Let’s get physical!
There is so much fun that one can get up to with their pets when it comes to playtime. From going for walks to playing fetch, children who have a pet will soon discover how fun “exercise time” can get.
10. Coping with loss
While there are many happy moments that come with having a pet at home, the passing of a pet is something that children would have to go through as well, as their pet ages. The pain of going through the loss of their pet may not be easy to cope with, but this teaches children to cope with bereavement and to treasure every moment they have with their loved ones.