Should you let your kids have a pet?
Most kids love animals, and beg their parents to let them get a pet. So, many parents wonder if they should let their kids have a pet.
It is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, since the life and care of the animal (or reptile, bird, et cetera) will be in the hands of you and your family.
However, there are many benefits to a child having a pet in their life. I definitely benefited from having pets in my life as a child.
Here are just 5 reasons you should let your kids have a pet:
1. Pets help kids with social skills
Children who are shy can especially benefit from having a pet. Animals can help draw a shy child out of their shell, and help them with confidence.
A pet can help break the ice and start a conversation with other kids and make friends. What child doesn’t love to talk about their beloved pet?
For instance, well-socialized dogs aren’t prejudiced and often like anyone who is willing to pet them. Other kids are often interested in petting the dog, and that can lead to friendships.
2. Pets teach kids responsibility
Pets can be a great means for a child to learn responsibility. They will learn how to take care of something other than themselves – another living being.
Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or other pet, it needs to be taken care of. With a little guidance, kids will learn how to feed the pet every day at the proper times, and make sure that it has enough fresh water.
They will learn how to groom the pet and keep it clean. If the pet is sick, they’ll be able to recognize that the pet isn’t acting like it usually does, so they can notify a parent.
I absolutely learned responsibility with having all of the pets I had. For instance, before school each morning, I was up early before dawn – rain or shine – to feed my rabbits and horse.
Because my parents had taught me this responsibility, they didn’t have to remind me – it was just part of my routine. And I loved it. What a joy it was to see my animals the first thing in the morning!
3. Pets are good for kids' physical health
For instance, having a dog can encourage exercise by means of playing and taking him for a walk. It can help your child to get outside in the fresh air more often. Kids usually love playing fetch with their dog, or even just running around with him.
A cat or bird can also play and provide mental stimulation for your kids and keep them entertained in a healthy, interactive way, which can also help with physical health.
I have many fond memories of taking long walks with my dogs. And sometimes my brothers and I would play Frisbee and the dogs would try to catch it.
4. Pets are good for kids' mental health
Pets can help children to reduce stress and cope with difficult situations, such as death or divorce. Having a furry (or otherly-textured) companion there for your child can make a lot of difference when it comes to keeping up their spirits during tough times.
Pets provide unconditional love, which can be a wonderful thing for a child who doesn’t feel like they are loved.
Pets can help fight loneliness that plagues many children today.
For many children, time spent with pets provides some of the best memories in their lives.
I was a pretty happy kid, but when I did feel lonely or misunderstood, just being alone with my best friend dog, cat or horse helped me a lot.
5. Spending time with pets teaches children about compassion, love, and kindness
Having a pet provides a chance for a child to learn about caring, compassion, and love.
It teaches the child to have empathy for other creatures, that are different from them in some way.
Spending time with pets helps teach these important values for children who may not always receive them from the adults in their life.
I will be forever grateful that my parents let their kids have pets. I benefited so much, and I can’t imagine a life without pets.
What do you think – will you let your kids have a pet?
If they already do have a pet or pets, what benefits have you found? Do you have any struggles with having a pet?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!