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Home / Articles / Pets / Ask the Pet Expert /  Pets are Great Teachers for our Kids
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Monday, December 8,2014

Pets are Great Teachers for our Kids

By Pet Expert  

Are you thinking about adding a pet to your family during the holidays?

It’s a big responsibility but the rewards are well worth it! Families with children are most likely to own a pet… or two. Children have boundless gifts to offer a pet, including built-in playtime and a cuddle companion. But the rewards work both ways. Our children can learn much from owning a pet, including these 10 valuable life lessons.

10 Life Lessons Owning a Pet Can Teach Your Child

1. Responsibility: Pets require daily feeding, exercise, and affection, not to mention grooming and potty time (and clean-up). Older children can learn how to care for another living creature and even younger children can help with feeding and playtime.

2. Trust: It’s easy to spill your heart out to your pet, who will offer you unconditional support in return. Pets make wonderful trusted companions for children and can be a first step to helping your child build trust in other relationships, too.

3. Compassion: Caring for a pet requires compassion, understanding, and empathy. Kids learn to be kind and to take care of others’ basic needs.

4. Bereavement: When a pet passes away, your child will inevitably feel the pain of the loss, but in turn will learn how to cope during the bereavement period.

5. Respect: Owning a pet teaches children how to respect others. They must touch them gently, tend to their needs, and learn not to disturb them when they’re eating or sleeping.

6. Self-Esteem: Pets show unconditional love, which can be a great boost to a child’s self-esteem. So can the satisfaction that comes from having responsibility and caring for a pet’s needs.

7. Loyalty: A pet’s loyalty toward its owner is often unmatched. In turn, children learn the importance of showing loyalty to their devoted furry friend.

8. Physical Activity: Children who own a dog learn how fun physical activity can be while they play tug-of-war, fetch, or go for walks with their pet. Research shows children in dog-owning families spend more time being physically active than children without dogs.

9. Patience: Bonding with a new pet often takes time. Your child will learn patience while your new pet becomes comfortable in your home and also during training.

10. Social Skills: Dogs can be an amazing social “ice breaker.” Taking your dog for walks as a family can improve your child’s social skills as you interact with others. Pets may also help children with autism to develop social skills such as sharing.

There are many other benefits as well. Your child can have their basic emotional and physical needs fulfilled by a pet, including comforting contact, love, and affection. Research also shows that children from dogowning homes (during their first year of life) have fewer ear infections and respiratory tract infections, and require fewer antibiotics, perhaps because the exposure stimulates the immune system. Other noted benefits include a significantly reduced risk of allergies and even better grades at school, presumably because owning a pet seems to give kids greater motivation.

 

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