Owning and caring for a pet is a rite of passage for many families. In addition to bringing great joy to the house, pet ownership provides a host of benefits to families with children. Here are seven life lessons that your child will gain by getting a pet.
Getting a pet is a great way to instill responsibility in your children. Pets require daily feedings, exercise, grooming, and cleanup. Putting your child in charge of some of these duties will teach them valuable responsibility skills that they will carry with them through the rest of their lives. It is easy to find age-appropriate duties for your child. Younger children can be in charge of making sure the water bowl is full while older children may be charged with taking the pet out for exercise.
Trust and Compassion
Pets make amazing companions for young children. Caring for another being will teach your child compassion and nurturing skills. Caring for a pet also teaches a child that sometimes they need to put the needs of others first. Animals are some of the first friends that kids learn to trust. The unconditional support and love that a pet gives is something that will teach a child about trust.
In turn, pets will show your children unconditional love and will be a friend for them to turn to when they are happy or sad. Pets are great companions and if your child can take care of their pet properly they will be loving in return.
Grief and loss is a natural part of life, making it important to teach your child how to deal with the loss of a pet. Going through this difficult process with your child will teach them that it is understandable to grieve the loss of a loved one. You can also use this time to teach your child healthy ways to deal with hard feelings. While it will be challenging to deal with the loss of a pet, there are also meaningful benefits that can come out of having to go through the process of bereavement. Learning how to deal with loss and sadness is an important life skill and oftentimes a child’s first pet will be the first time they deal with these feelings.
Benefits of Physical Activity
Research has demonstrated that families with pets are generally more active than those who do not own animals. Most pets require regular physical activity in order to maintain good health. Putting your child in charge of this task will also ensure that they get their exercise. Not only will this teach them responsibility, but it will also show them how fun it is to get outside and exercise.
Owning a pet often requires that you dig deep for patience. Training a pet is not an easy task. It can often be difficult and frustrating especially if you have a new puppy that you are teaching. Your child will enjoy a sense of accomplishment when they have successfully taught a pet to perform a particular task. Bonding with a pet sometimes takes time as well, requiring that your child be patient as the animal takes the lead in getting comfortable with its new surroundings.
There is nothing more loyal than a pet. An animal can teach your child the invaluable benefit of loyalty. Once a child realizes how loyal the pet is to their needs, they will want to respond with the same level of reciprocated loyalty. This will transfer to other relationships in life as the child sees the value of being a loyal friend and family member.
Taking care of a pet shows a child the importance of respecting the needs and the personal space of others. It will not take long for a child to learn that they need to touch some pets gently or they may see consequences. They will also learn that it is important to not intrude on an animal when it is sleeping or eating. The same tenants that they will learn about respecting animals can be applied to respecting people, making this a valuable life lesson.
Owning a Pet is A Great Experience
While owning a pet requires a significant amount of time, money, and resources, the benefits of this adventure make it worth your while to give your child this experience. Most children will benefit greatly in many areas of maturity and education through pet ownership. Be sure to choose the animal and breed carefully so that you find the right fit for the ages of your children and your family’s lifestyle. Choosing a pet that is compatible with your family will go a long way in helping you to make the most out of this experience.