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