If your kids are keen to have a pet, but all you can think about is how
you will have to feed and care for their furry and feathered friends,
there are some benefits that you may not be considering. Having a pet
will invariably mean that you have more to keep an eye on and there are
inevitable expenses, but there are also a wealth of benefits and learning
opportunities that having a pet provides for your family.
Learning about Responsibility
This is the obvious one, but having a pet really does teach your children
to consider the needs of others when making decisions. They also understand
that while being responsible isn’t always fun, it is very rewarding.
Children also learn to plan their day and follow a routine so that they
are always home to feed and exercise their pets. This helps them with
time management and learning to fulfill obligations and responsibilities.
Being introduced to pets from an early age can actually boost immune systems
which mean that children have a lower chance of developing allergies and
are less likely to have asthma. Interacting with pets is also good for
your health which is why healthcare facilities encourage visitations from
dogs. Interacting with a pet lowers blood pressure and releases serotonin
which elevates mood.
Having to walk a dog can encourage children to get moving and helps them
to control their weight. It can also provide companionship and comfort
and improve feelings of wellbeing.
Give it a trial run
Before owning a pet, ask a friend or family member if you can take care
of their pet for a couple of days. This will help you to gauge your child’s
readiness to accept the responsibility of a new pet.
You can also encourage your child to volunteer at a local shelter or just
offer to walk the neighbor’s dog a couple of days a week.
Be cognizant also of the time it takes to care for pets. If your child
is already struggling to juggle academics and after-school activities,
then opt for a low-maintenance pet that doesn’t require a lot of
love and attention.
If you aren’t ready for the full responsibility of a dog, start with
a hamster or a fish to get your students accustomed to the routine and
responsibility. This will help you ascertain whether they are mature enough
to handle a pet. Do not get a pet unless you are absolutely sure that
it’s the right thing for you and your family.
Pic by Brad Holt