Buying or adopting a pet is a decision that should not be taken lightly and you should weigh up all the options. However, if you ultimately decide to do it, there are great benefits for children.
Living with pets can have significant benefits for babies, children and the whole family in general. Most children ask their parents for a pet – generally a cat or a dog – but before bringing an animal home you need to consider a few points. Think about how much time and space you have. Make sure that no one in the family has a strong allergy to pets. Also consider the family budget and explain to children that pets are not toys that they can get bored of and abandon. It is important to think hard about the decision because pets require a lot of responsibility and patience and should not be bought on impulse.
If you have these questions clear and they are not a problem, your family is ready for the arrival of a new member.
The benefits to children of pets
- Children who grow up with a pet have a greater sense of responsibility and commitment because they have to feed the animal, clean it, care for it and take it for a walk if it is a dog. Having a pet also helps make them aware of the needs others, which teaches them to be more understanding.
- Pets can help children when it comes to socialising because they help develop positive behaviours, such as respect for others and learning to be more sensitive and tolerant. They also promote confidence in children because they are responsible for another living being.
- Children with pets (especially dogs) have a greater physical capacity because they usually spend more time playing and running with them. Family ties are also fostered because the family often does more activities together by playing and caring for the animal.
- If you have an only child, having a pet may help mitigate jealousy when another sibling arrives.
- Children can improve their language skills when they are talking to the animal. We shouldn't forget the important mutual affection between the family and the pet, especially when talking of cats and dogs, which are usually closer to their owners.
- Some studies also show that having pets during childhood helps prevent certain allergies, such as asthma and rhinitis.