Are your little tykes clamouring for a furry friend of their own? It’s a common dilemma faced by parents. On the one hand, who doesn’t love pets? They’re adorable, they’re fun, and they can really transform the home atmosphere.

On the other hand, adult concerns can dampen the enthusiasm – there’s the cost, for starters. And what happens to the four-legged family member when you’re away from home?

Sometimes, it pays to take your adult hat off and to remember the benefits of pet ownership. Here are six ways cats, dogs and other pets can boost your child’s development.

1. Pets teach responsibility

Pet ownership involves work, sure, but so does everything in life that’s worth having. Importantly, this work can act as a tool for teaching your child about responsibility.

Pets need to be fed, watered, and often trained – by involving your child intending to these basic needs, you help them to learn about their own needs. Including your daughter or son in the process of grooming the family pet and visits to the vet helps them learn the importance of health and wellbeing early on.

Invest in a lifetime pet insurance package and you can teach children the value of lifelong unconditional care.

2. Pets teach empathy

Caring for others is about more than just the things we do. How we feel inside is just as important. Pets can help with the latter, too, by teaching kids to feel empathy toward other creatures.

A Kansas study of preschool children showed pet ownership was associated with better social development, and that kids with pets at home showed greater empathy for other children. This research, which was headed up by Robert H. Poresky, suggests children who learn to care for creatures may be building foundations for a kind future.

3. Pets reduce stress

Pet therapy schemes have been introduced in all kinds of institutions in recent years, from universities to care homes. The reason is simple: among people of all ages, pets reduce the stress response. People who interact with pets daily have lower levels of cortisol – the long-term stress hormone – than those who do not. This is thought to be behind a number of other intriguing health trends, including the lower rates of heart disease among dog owners.

Homework pressures, social media and an ‘always on’ culture are leading children to experience more stress than ever – so making a conscious effort to counter this can only be good for your child.

4. Pets provide a health boost

You might expect pets to provide a health boost through stress reduction and the positive effects of exercise – and they do. What’s perhaps less widely known is that pet ownership in early life is linked to immune system development. Some research even suggests children are less likely to develop allergies in pet-owning households.

Swedish research has shown pet ownership reduces the risk of asthma, hay fever and eczema – a pattern which may be linked to the higher numbers of IgA antibodies found in children who grow up around pets.

5. Pets bring families together

Not only do pets provide companionship, but they also help people to bond with each other. This is thought to be because animals are something the whole family can focus on. You pet them, walk them, laugh at their antics and play together – so without even noticing, you’re already spending quality time as a family.

Many people find their house feels much more homely and interactive once a cat or dog enters the mix.

6. Pets help children to learn

The best benefit of pet ownership is probably friendship. For some children, pets offer non-judgemental companionship that can be hard to find in playmates or siblings. Furry friends have great listening ears, which can also help your little one to learn.

One study found that asking children to ‘teach’ dogs to read boosted kids’ reading skills. This is thought to be because the element of fear and judgment was taken away.

With all these benefits in mind, perhaps it’s time to give in to the little voices begging for a creature of their own. If you aren’t able to take on a cat or dog, smaller animals such as birds, hamsters and even goldfish can have similar effects.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I have written articles on many topics but this is my first article regarding pet health and care.

Hope this article will be helpful for you.

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