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Pets educate children and adults alike, I have seen it time and time again and also in my own family.
That being said it is a hard feeling to desribe to those who don’t have pets of their own because as an animal lover I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want them haha! So I was delighted when Olivia contacted me asking if she could post on the subject and she’s summarised it better than I ever could! Over to Olivia.
A Bit About Olivia
Olivia Williams Jones is psychologist from Brisbane, dedicated to making some changes in the world, starting from her own environment. Together with her husband, she is a proud mum of two silly boxers, Teo and Mia. She is also a passionate writer about pets, parenting and healthy living. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
Parents often decide to get a pet for their kids to provide them with a playmate and teach them about responsibility. Amongst those benefits, children also learn a lot of things about the world and people around them. Here are just some of the things your kids can learn from their animal companions.
Not only do pets represent faithful companions, but they can help kids become friends with other kids, too. While socializing with their pets, children learn how to approach people and establish a connection. Pets often represent a bridge between kids and an excuse to come and say hi. Children with pets grow up knowing how to interact with both people and animals, and they tend to be more interested in doing so.
Children who are growing up with pets quickly learn how to notice subtle signs of fear, happiness, sadness and nervousness, since they learn how to understand their pet’s body language. This later translates to their friends and family and they grow up to have a higher emotional intelligence.
Empathy is an important quality your kids need to learn and a good way to teach them empathy is by getting them a pet. Many research shows that pets have an important role in the development of children’s empathy as well as in their socio-emotional development. Researchers from many parts of the world studied the relationship between empathy and animal attitudes, ownership and attachment. They all came to a result that there is a link between those variables, and that kids with pets have higher levels of empathy, especially girls. Young children become interested in how their pets feel, which later extends to people.
Having a pet helps kids improve their motor skills and increases their overall activity. A study conducted in England in 2010 came to the conclusion that kids with pets (mainly dogs) spend 11 more minutes doing exercise than kids without pets. By spending time actively playing, children also improve their coordination and balance, and
learn how to get along with other kids which can mean a lot later in life.
By giving kids the responsibility to take care of their pets, they will learn how important nurturing is, and how much pleasure it brings. You can encourage your child and show them just how satisfactory brushing pets can be, or teach them about responsibility by ordering pet supplies online in a timely manner. This will teach them how important it is to keep pets well fed and cared for. This way pets also teach children about the importance of taking care of themselves. If you explain why it’s important for them to keep pets healthy, clean and loved, kids will better understand why it’s important to keep themselves healthy and cared for.
Confidence & Self Control
Most of the children, especially those who started school, are constantly being judged and evaluated. Parents and teachers measure their mental and physical progress with grades and it can be stressful to meet other’s expectations. Pets never judge children that way and they accept them as there are. This can boost their confidence and self-esteem. Many research shows how kids learn and listen better when there’s a dog present in their room or classroom and that they feel more relaxed and open to learning. Owning a pet also teaches children patience, self-control and caution. Having a pet can encourage kids to learn about animals which can affect their future choices regarding education.
Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility and commitment, but it pays off in so many ways. Through pets, kids learn how to treat people and learn many valuable lessons about themselves and life in general. Pets can be great teachers and companions, and will certainly make your kid’s childhood healthier and happier.