I think kids should be allowed to have a pet, even if it’s only one. I grew up with lots of animals in my life and tried to make sure my kids had the joy of owning pets of some kind too. I simply adore animals in general. Some animals do make better pets than others, so you’ll have to choose a pet that goes well with your child’s disposition. If you are a bit hesitant about getting your kid an animal to take care of, here are 7 reasons your child should own a pet.
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Animals Are Excellent for Reducing Stress
Even kids can benefit from the therapeutic effects produced by animals. Having a pet can calm a hyper child, reduce stress in a nervous child, or simply help the kid relax after a hard day. Studies show that dogs and cats are able to help adults calm down and lower their blood pressure level. Who’s to say that kids can’t reap just as many therapeutic benefits from interacting with an animal?
An Appreciation for Nature Can Be Developed
Introducing kids to the wonders of the natural world can easily be accomplished by giving them an animal to take care of. What better way for a child to learn about animals then to interact with them in a one-on-one setting. Having a pet of their very own is much better than watching a nature show. I think kids can learn a lot from animals.
A Pet Can Be the Perfect Fitness Coach
I think dogs make the best fitness educators for an unsuspecting child. Kids usually get a kick out of dogs that will fetch an object over and over again. I used to have a dog that would chase me around the yard and steal one of my shoes when I fell down. He was always very gentle and this was his way of playing with a fellow litter mate; me. He was the only puppy we had and I was close to his size, so I think he considered me to be one of the pack. We’d play ‘Steal the Shoe’ for a good solid two hours nearly every day. It was great exercise for both of us.
Pets Are Very Entertaining
Keeping a child entertained without the use of television or a video game is difficult to do at times. Animals can be the perfect entertainer for any age of child. Small pets, such as mice, hamsters, and gerbils are great fun to watch and are always good for a laugh. They are such animated little creatures.
Kids Can Learn How to Treat Living Things Nice
Giving an animal to a child usually allows kids to learn how to treat animals nicely. Kids learn how to be gentle, caring, and loving. Some kids learn the hard way. A pet will often only take so much mauling before it retaliates by scratching, biting, or running away. Most kids understand that being nice to an animal will make it want to stay nearby and continue to get petted for a long time.
Animals Make Excellent Companions
If you have only one child, sometimes getting a pet keeps your child from getting lonely. I know that a dog or cat doesn’t take the place of human friendship, but pets can still be comforting when friends aren’t available to play. I was an only child for 11 years and I have plenty of fond memories that involve taking my dogs for walks, playing with them in the yard, and even dressing the littlest one in baby clothes. It’s a wonder that dog didn’t start hiding from me whenever I came into the room!
Learning to Be Responsible for Another Living Thing is Great for Kids
Even if your child is only a toddler, there are still aspects of owning a pet that a toddler is able to help out with. My son was only a year old when he received his first kitten. I stored the cat food in a small tote next to the fridge. I showed my son how to scoop the food out of the tote with a small cup and then pour it into his kitten’s bowl. This was his initial part in taking care of his new kitten and he thought it was great. He really liked having a job to do that involved taking care of something that was dependent on him.
I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t have my pets. I love them all and I’m so glad my children have had the chance to grow up with animals running around the house. We have wonderful memories about each and every pet we’ve ever had. Do you find that any of these 7 reasons your child should own a pet to be valid for your household? How do you feel about giving pets to children?
Top Photo Credit: johnlincsuk
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