How Pets Contribute to Raising Children (Guest Post: Olivia Jones)

You haven’t seen true happiness until you’ve witnessed a young child cuddling with a dog. The bond between a child and pet is making growing up a happier experience and brings joy to the entire family. It also contributes to the child’s development. The benefits of pet-child relationship go way beyond the mere playtime animation. Numerous studies have shown that kids can obtain a wide range of both mental and physical gains by having an animal in their household. It is thought that friendly animals can reduce stress and encourage playfulness, among other things. So, let us see how else pets can contribute to raising children.

Facilitating Emotional Development

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about children and their pets is unconditional love. In this special relationship, kids learn how to express their emotions and receive affection. Caring for pets teaches them empathy. Kids learn to listen and pay attention to their friends’ needs. Is the animal hungry? Is it afraid of thunder? Furthermore, a study conducted by the University of Liverpool found that dogs and cats, especially, can act as a form of psychological support, helping kids feel better about themselves and creating a positive self-image.

Raising Active Kids

On the physical side, pets, especially dogs, motivate kids to be physically active. Today, when our kids spend so much time in the house in front of computer screens, that is more important than ever. There is scientific evidence backing up this claim – children from dog-owning families recorded higher levels of activity per minute than children without a dog did. The best thing about it is that they usually spend this time outdoors.

Keeping Them Healthy

Numerous studies pointed out that exposure to a cat or a dog in children’s first year of life is making them less susceptible to respiratory issues and allergies. Also, one study found that kids in dog-owned families had less frequent otitis and needed fewer courses of antibiotics.

Teaching Responsibility

One of the most valuable ways pets help us raise our children is by teaching them responsibility. Taking care of the pets’ needs gives them the first glimpse of obligation and accountability, which is essential for success in education and in life. Kids that are given the responsibility of keeping their pets clean, walking them and feeding them can become more independent. Also, show them how they can order online pet supplies so that they can handle this task on their own when they become old enough.

Helping with Social Interaction and Learning

A shy child is more likely to approach and befriend another child who is accompanied by a pet. In a way, a pet helps kids who are not outgoing to find playmates. However, a pet is much more than a means to an end. Research published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology found that children get more satisfaction from a relationship with their pets than with their siblings. Also, when spending time with pets, kids tend to read and talk to them, which makes them perfect study buddies, too.

Making the Kids Happier

Kids with pets are indubitably happier. In general, animals have a therapeutic effect on kids, especially if they share a special bond. Some studies have shown that animals can reduce stress and anxiety and increase the levels of oxytocin – a hormone that produces feelings of happiness and trust. Although we, as parents, would prefer that our children come to us with their troubles and pain, they are more likely to run to their pets for comfort. And that’s all right, as long as they have someone to put a smile on their face when they’re feeling sad.

Parenthood is a herculean job and we need all the help we can get in raising our kids to be kind, honest, self-confident and responsible individuals. If a furry four-legged (two-winged or multi-finned) friend can help with that, it’s very welcomed.

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About The Author:

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”.

30 thoughts on “How Pets Contribute to Raising Children (Guest Post: Olivia Jones)

  1. Pets are so important for children – it teaches them to love from an early age. They’re a child’s best friend and they teach them to have responsibility too which is so important!

  2. We have dogs and cats at home and they are part of the family. They are our playmates, besties and companion. Our dogs are reliable house guards too, better than alam (my Mom says so) and we can’t imagine without our furry family 🙂

  3. so true.I remember I had pets always during my childhood.But ,for my kid he doesn’t have a pet.I can see he keeps some of toys and cuddle with those.When we go back to my parent country,he always get the opportunity to hang with pets and he loves such experiences!

  4. I agree with this 100%! Kids are really better with pets especially if they’ve had them since they were very little. There’s nothing more special than a bond between a child and his or her pet.

  5. I got a cat for my twins when we moved to a new home to add more love in the house. It’s always been awesome and my kids love him! Kids and pets are meant to be together!

  6. I couldn’t agree more with the author of this text.
    When you purchase or adopt a pet, this is a great opportunity to teach your children responsibility. It is important your children know that by fulfilling their responsibilities of care for an animal they are showing respect to these creatures that depend on them for their needs.

  7. We have a cat and a dog and I agree whole-heartedly with those points. Our boys benefit immensely from having pets. We are hoping to get chickens some time this year and looking after them is going to be a chore they can help with.

  8. I am in full agreement with you about all the points raised, especially the physical part. It should be every parent’s obligation to encourage physical activities in this digital days. But when a pet is owned there’s no need for that as the child and the pet do it naturally

  9. I know that for my daughter, having a dog made such a difference in her life. She was able to be more interactive socially and outdoors because of having a pet. She also wasn’t cowering in fear every time she saw an animal any more. It was transformational.

  10. Isn’t it amazing how pets can facilitate development and even teach children important lessons. For example, it teaches them to take responsibility and be more caring x

  11. How sweet. We have two cats. My daughter loves them so much. She really wants a dog but right now I tell her two cats are enough.

  12. I love this post and agree 100% with you! Animals make people better, there is nothing a innocent and beautiful, as a pet And their unconditional love they offer.

  13. I think it’s really good in showing responsibility when you have a pet that you have to look after x

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