• This is a guest post by Olivia Williams Jones, a psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Being a mother of two children and proud owner of two boxer dogs, she lists the benefits that keeping a pet has on children
There isn't a child in this world who wouldn't want a pet. Whether it's a dog, cat, bunny or fish, every child wants to have that one special friend who will always keep them company. But while children only think about playing with and cuddling their pet, parents often think about the added responsibilities that come with keeping a pet. However, the truth is, having a pet is more beneficial for your child than you might think.
1) Reduces chances of allergies and infections in children
The first thing parents consider before getting a pet is whether their child suffers from any allergies. However, studies have shown that having a pet from an early age is actually good for children as it reduces the risk of developing allergies later on. This is due to the fact that a child's immune system grows stronger the more they are exposed to possible threats. But it's not just about allergies: some studies even show that kids with pets develop fewer respiratory and ear infections.
2) Builds self-esteem and teaches responsibility
Is your child an introvert? Having a pet can do wonders for your child's self-esteem and confidence. For a child, a pet is a source of unconditional love, so even if the child has a problem expressing themselves, they might find talking to their pet easy. Kids know that their pets won't judge them for any mistake they make so they'll feel confident enough to do anything in their company.
Getting a pet is also a great opportunity to teach your child about responsibility. Before you do get a pet, make sure you reach a certain agreement with your child about responsibilities. Assign simple tasks to your child such as feeding the cat or filling the water bowl. Also, depending on your child's age, leave walking the dog to them, as long as they have the proper gear. A simple act of getting cat supplies will help them become more responsible in the long run.
3) Socializing and verbal skills
Is your kid too shy to approach other kids on the playground and start a conversation with them? Their furry friend might be an excellent conversation starter. As a matter of fact, other kids just might approach your child while they're playing with their pet and that could be the pathway to them making new friends. After all, there isn't a kid in the world who doesn't love talking about their pet which is a great way to practice verbal communication.
4) Increases physical activity
Another positive that comes with keeping a pet is physical activity. Having a dog will guarantee that your child stays active and goes for a walk at least once every day. And, of course, adults can benefit greatly from them as well. If you have a dog, walking it becomes a fun family activity.
5) Helps the family bond
Lastly, having a pet is highly beneficial for the whole family because a pet can be a great reason to spend more time together outside. Whether you're all taking the dog for a walk, playing with your cat in the family room or simply watching the fish swim in the tank, a pet can be the focus of your family activities.
Deciding to get a pet is no easy decision but in the end, getting a pet will bring immense joy and happiness to your child's life. And ultimately, if your child is happy, you'll be happy too!