"Mom I want a Cat", "Mom I want a Bearded Dragon" or "Mom I want a..." (Whatever the latest phase of cool pet to have is) are common exclamations that you may hear from your child on more than one occasion. Oftentimes, these desires may be dismissed as being silly childhood fantasies. Parents may assume that their children will not be capable of caring for their pets by themselves. They may also assume that this is just a fleeting fantasy, another childhood desire. Afterall, with children, one week they want a Bearded Dragon, the next they want the latest games console. However getting a pet for your child can actually teach them a thing or two about responsibility. This article will discuss the ways in which having a pet can help your child with their development.
7 Reasons Your Kids Should Own Pets
Improved Social Skills
Research has proven that kids that live in a household with pets have improved social skills, confidence and self esteem. Even just chattering with their pet and having a one sided conversation as if it's a real person helps them develop socially.
They Get More Exercise
It's no big secret that some kids these days are too dependent on technology. They sit cooped up inside, scrunched over their games consoles and their tablets, never using their imagination. If this sounds like your kids, and they recoil in horror at the sunlight like a vampire then it's time to consider getting them a pet. If kids can walk or play frisbee with a pet dog, they will be more motivated to go outside and be out and about. If they can build an assault course for their cute little bearded dragon, they will be using their imagination and building important skills.
Their Mental Health Can Improve
It's not just adults that can experience stress or emotional and mental problems. Children too can suffer these things, particularly if they are worried about a certain event or transition in their lives (for example, going from elementary to high school) or they are being bullied or having difficulty making friends. Having a pet has been proven to reduce loneliness and anxiety in people of all ages. If your child has a bad day at school, no doubt their little faces will light up when they see their pet come bounding to the door to greet them.
They Have Less Allergy Risks
If you are a parent then it's likely that you are aware of the potential impacts of raising your children in an incredibly sterile-esque, clean environment. Children that are protected from bacteria never have the chance for their immune system to build up a tolerance or defense against it and so they are more likely to get sick from bacteria that they encounter later. Afterall, as much as we don't want our children getting ill, we cannot exactly wrap them in bubble wrap and protect them from everything in the world. A little dirt and bacteria is actually good for a person's development. In the same way, exposure to animals, and everything that comes with them, also helps build your children's immune systems and reduces the risk of them developing allergies later in life.
It Teaches Them About Being Responsible
Life is pretty easy as a child. Most of us would trade in our adult lives to have that carefree experience once again if we could. Kids don't really have any responsibilities or commitments besides their school work - other than coming home, eating Mom's cooking, complaining about having to eat their greens and then doing as they please. Having a pet teaches kids about responsibility. It teaches them that pets are for life, not just for Christmas. Your kids will learn to care for their pets according to a schedule - to feed them, clean them, etc. This helps aid them in preparation for a number of things to come later in life - from caring for a family and other people, to budgeting and managing a work schedule.
It Makes Them Less Prone to Asthma
Just like having a pet and being exposed to the associated bacteria and pet danda that comes with having it helps to build your children's immune system, it also reduces their chance of getting asthma in later life. As anyone that has asthma can attest to, the ailment really makes certain aspects of living (such as exercising) more difficult than they are for the average person, so the less chance of contracting this, the better!
It Builds a Family Bond
Having a much loved cat or bearded dragon that everyone in the family cares about can actually strengthen the bond that you all have with each other - between siblings and between parents and children. The bond is strengthened through a shared love of the animal, and participating in caring for it, and engaging in pet related activities (like the bearded dragon assault course!) as a family.