This week we celebrated my dog’s fifth birthday. I can’t even begin to explain what a wonderful addition Gracie has been to our family. When we were told we had less than a 1% chance of having a child of our own, we decided to adopt a fur baby. Two weeks later, we were pregnant. Not only did our pup contribute to our own little miracle, she is the best big sister ever.
Raising your child with a pet is truly a joyous experience for the entire family. I shared my Top 5 Reasons You Should Raise Your Prince or Princess with a Pet here and on Creative Child. But today, we have the fabulous Tracey Clayton here with a new guest post on how raising your child with a pet will help them grow up to be caring and responsible adults. Read on!
Raising Caring and Responsible Kids: Benefits of Growing Up with Pets
The bond between a child and their pet is like no other. Our cats and dogs become parts of our families and they remind us every day that we are loved. They are simple and very easy to please as long as they are provided with care and shelter. If you want to teach your child how to be reliable and at the same time give them a loyal companion, get them a pet. You won’t be the only one who’s giving, as animals have a lot to give back, and they can teach your kids quite a few things.
Pets Help with Shyness
If your child has difficulties socializing, having a pet might help them open up more. This is especially true for sick children or children who experienced some trauma in the past, as pets have a very soothing effect on the psyche. Kids intuitively recognize that they can trust animals, and even the most frightened child will respond well to a friendly dog or cat.
This is a good way to bring them out of their shell and get them to learn basic social graces. Pets are also good conversation starters – if you are outside, walking your dog, other pet owners will want to approach and chat. Learning to trust someone other than their parents can be difficult for any child, so this is a step in the right direction.
You want to teach your kid how to be responsible from early on, and having an animal in the house will do just that. Tell your child that if they want to keep them, they’ll have to take care of them, feed them, walk them, clean up after them and love them. Teach them everything, from how to soothe the animal when they are upset, to what kind of food they are allowed to eat.
If you are going away on vacation, help your child find appropriate pet boarding options. You can find a pet sitter that will take care of your cat or dog while you’re away. Having a pet teaches your child how to respond to obligations and what being responsible for someone truly means.
Pets Teach Unconditional Love and Empathy
The uncomplicated love of our pets is almost a sacred thing to anyone who’s ever felt it. They love with no reservations, without demanding anything. If you show them affection, they will give it back tenfold and remain eternally loyal to you. This kind of loyalty is exactly what your child needs to build confidence, but also empathy. Our pets depend on us to take care of them, and in a lot of
Our pets depend on us to take care of them, and in a lot of ways, they are very frail without us. This kind of connection teaches the child that other beings around them are influenced by the things they do and that they can hurt someone a lot if they neglect them. It teaches them to pay attention to the needs of others and respond accordingly. It can also help them recognize whether other people have good or bad intentions towards them.
Besides being good for our mental health, pets affect our physical state as well. If you have a dog, then the benefits are obvious. Frequent walks are good for our overall fitness, and being outside in fresh air instead of sitting in front of a computer all day will save your kid’s vision and help them avoid headaches and back problems later on.
But it’s not just dogs that benefit our physical health. Cats, too, play a role in helping us stay healthy. Research shows that children who were exposed to house animals early on had fewer respiratory problems later in life. Pets also help lower the blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Not to mention that dogs often act as guardians, protecting the child.
One thing to consider when getting a pet for your family is whether to buy or adopt. Adoption is recommended because you’ll be saving a life and the bond will be even stronger because of it. There are many lonely animals out there, and all of them would be happy and grateful if they could find their forever home.
About the Author:
Tracey Clayton is a full-time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in hers parenting articles. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”