Deciding to adopt a pet for your child is a big decision, but a rewarding one. Kids thrive when there are pets in the home and learn many essential skills simply from caring and loving their four-legged friends. Even seeing the excitement as your child picks out pet accessories for their favourite furball is surely a memory to cherish.
No matter what animal you choose, there are plenty of benefits. From unconditional love, to teaching them valuable life skills, here are some great benefits to adopting a pet for your child.
Unconditional love and companionship
There is something incredibly special about adopting a pet for your child. They say pets don’t have emotions as we humans do, but see the appreciation and love an adopted pet gives and it’ll make you think otherwise!
This love and companionship pets give can be an incredible support for kids as they navigate the ups and downs of life, especially as they grow up. Having a pet can give kids someone to turn to for comfort when they are experiencing social pressures, stress at school and even feeling a little overwhelmed at home.
Responsibility and empathy
Pets are great for helping teach children responsibility and empathy. For example, you may have a younger child assist you with feeding and grooming your pet, as well as ensuring they get enough love and attention. While an older child may be able to take on responsibilities like feeding, daily brushing and exercising your pet.
As your child interacts with their furry friend, they’ll start to learn to read their queues when they’re happy, sad or in need. It’s a great way for young kids especially to start to learn empathy, and help them become a kind and giving person.
Physical and emotional health benefits
Adopting a pet for your child isn’t just good for their mental health, it may be good for the entire family’s physical health too.
Pets are a great way to keep people active, as they require daily physical exercise, just like we do. You’ll be more inclined to get up and go for a walk, explore your region or even take more visits to the beach or park when you’ve got a pup at your heels and an excited child at theirs. Cats can also keep you active at home. Kids will love playtime just as much as your kitty. From string toys that your child will have to move and wiggle to mice that can help bring out their hunter instincts, there’s plenty of reasons to get up and moving from the couch.
Having a pet has also shown to help with anxiety and stress. Simply feeling their soft fur, giving them a loving hug or spending time with pets can help reduce how we process and feel stress. So, you’re not just imagining it when you feel better after a good cuddle sesh with your four-legged friend!
Watching kids and their pets interact is nothing short of adorable. However, these interactions are also teaching kids important social skills.
Pets come with ups and downs, especially during training or when they are going through their defiant teenage stage (cats sometimes never grow out of this!). The downs in particular help children to learn patience, how to handle conflict and even how our actions impact others.
Training your pet can help a child with their communication skills—clear instructions are needed for a pet to do as it’s told. While the primary coach should be the ‘head’ of the household, your kids can and should learn the prompts of basic commands. They should also learn how to respond when the pet reacts positively or negatively to the command, helping them learn how to deal with situations that don’t go as planned. Plus, it’s always fun to give them a little treat (your pet, that is!).
The importance of choosing the right pet
The type, size and breed or pet you adopt for your child will depend on many factors. For instance, do you have a yard? Are you often out of the house for long periods of time? How much time can you dedicate to exercising and grooming your pet? These are good questions to ask yourself to help determine which pet may work best for your family.
Explore the different pets available at local shelters and any support they offer. Next, pay them a visit. It may be wise to visit them without your child first to get a feel for any animal you may think is a good fit.
If you find a furry friend who may be right, arrange to come back with your child and spend some time together. Most shelters will have space for you, your child and the animal to get to know one another, and start building a connection.
There are so many benefits of adopting a pet for your child, it truly is worth it. You not only get to see your child flourish, but also help an animal receive a loving forever home. What could be better than that?