Evidence is overwhelming that owning pets provides many benefits, especially for children. That’s according to a review of 22 studies by The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The review found that owning pets is linked to improved cognitive development, higher self esteem and overall better social skills in children. If you’re undecided about getting a pet for your kids, these are just a few of the reasons why it is a good idea.
Here are some of the benefits that owning a pet has for children:
- Comfort and companionship – in times of loss, stress and anxiety, like we are now with the fear and uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus and shelter in place orders, pets are particularly helpful in providing comfort to kids.
- Respect and empathy – having a pet that is dependent on them for its care teaches kids respect and empathy. They learn to read a pet’s signals when it is hungry, stressed or fearful.
- Better health – kids with pets in general tend to have better health and are more active than kids without pets. Whether it’s playing with or taking it for a walk, being with a pet improves kids’ moods and keeps them moving.
- Responsibility –pet ownership teaches kids responsibility where they receive immediate feedback from their pet when they are neglected – whining when they are hungry or need to be let out or badly behaved when they are ignored. Worried about the kids in your care’s ability to take responsibility for their pets? Download the educational apps Kazutime and Kazu Adventures, which are aimed at teaching kids aged 3 to 8 valuable lifeskills, such as taking proper care of pets.
- Verbal skills in younger kids – studies have shown that kids who have been exposed to animals from a younger age tend to have better verbal and social skills. The presence of a pet provides verbal stimulus for young children and encourages them to practice talking with it.
- Unconditional love – pets provide children with unconditional love and make wonderful non-judgmental companions which is comforting for kids who are experiencing sibling rivalry, are only children or are lonely.
- Therapy – owning a pet can be extremely therapeutic, especially for kids who are experiencing stress or emotional turmoil and in kids with autism. They can also help speed up the recovery of kids who are sick or injured and can even lower a child’s blood pressure.
- Reduced behavioral problems – the studies discovered that children with pets tend to present fewer behavioral and learning problems. This is due to the presence of a pet having a positive impact on the motivation and speed of a child in accomplishing tasks and has been shown to increase their concentration and listening skills.
These are just some of the benefits you can reap from adding a pet to your family. If you’d like to share any pet stories with us, get in touch!