Most of us had pets as a child, but have you ever thought back on just how that cat, dog, or rabbit influenced your growth as a person? Children live in the moment and derive great pleasure from the time they spend with their animals. However, in those same moments, they are also learning things unconsciously that better allow them to adapt to and succeed in the world.
Some families might wonder whether it is a good idea to get their youngest a pet, given the responsibility and costs involved. However, here are some points that might help convince parents that this is a good idea that goes beyond the fun pets can provide.
Pets don’t care for themselves and some parents rightly worry that they will end up with this burden, should the child ever lose interest in the animal. However, caring for a pet can really help to teach children the importance of responsibility. If their animal is not properly fed and cared for, they can become sick and even die. While no one would ever wish for this to happen, it can be a stark and necessary lesson.
More and more children these days are becoming obese from having sedentary lives, thanks to computers, smartphones, and video games. Pets (dogs, especially) must be regularly walked, so that means getting out of the house and indulging in some physical activity a few times a day. Playtime with a dog can also be highly beneficial in this regard, for both the child and the canine.
Some children are quite anxious, while others are easily stressed, and/or lack self-esteem. A study by the U.S. Public Health Service revealed that all three of these conditions are less likely to occur in children that have a pet. Animal companionship can also improve both relationship development and communication.