Pet ownership benefits for kids
By Melissa Brodsky
Like many parents, you may struggle with deciding whether or not to get a pet for your kids. After all, pets require patience, care and commitment — not to mention money for food and other needs. And then there are the tales of children who spend months pleading for a pet only to lose interest in caring for it within weeks of bringing it home.
Your kids probably only see the fun side of having a pet, while you see all the work they require. If you’re finding it hard to think of a good reason, other than fun, to give it a go, here is some food for thought:
- Kids can gain experience from having a pet. They can learn how to be responsible for another being and discover interesting facts about the animal you choose. Depending on the type of pet you select, your children can learn about habitats, anatomy, animal nutrition and health. Pet owning provides fun and education in a cute (or at least interesting) package.
- There are health benefits to pet ownership. Some research has shown that growing up alongside pets translates into fewer allergy cases. There’s also evidence that suggests kids raised with pets are less likely to develop asthma. Other health benefits include the possible reduction of blood pressure and fewer trips to see doctors. Mental health counts too, and pet owners overall may feel less lonely and less anxious.
- Caring for a pet can help build social skills. Taking care of a pet together can prove a bonding experience for your kids. And if that’s not enough, pet ownership might even boost their self-esteem.
If you decide the benefits of getting your kids a pet outweigh the challenges and expenses involved, you can smooth the way toward responsible pet ownership by having them learn about pet care before you bring the new addition home. There are many websites and books that provide insight into the realities of caring for many different types of pets. You can use them not only to inform your kids but also to determine whether you, the parent, are really ready to add a new pet to the family.
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