So, you and your family have decided to get a pet. Or maybe you need a bit more convincing. In part two of our families-and-pets series, we will take a look at everything your child can gain from having a pet present in their family. Kids can gain or develop plenty of skills and traits from looking after animals.
1. Motor skills
Playing with their pet can help kids develop and hone some motor skills. Whether it is throwing a tennis ball for the dog or playing with a flirt pole with the cat, interacting with a pet also encourages to be physically active.
2. Social skills
Pets can be a great conversation topic for children of all ages and they can facilitate contact between children by playing with the pet together. They might help shy children come out of their shell by talking about something they love and enjoy and having a topic ready to interact with other children.
3. Emotional support
Probably one of the most widely recognized benefits of having a pet: they are always there to listen to problems, concerns and worries. Pets are great at receiving and giving affection, something that can really help a sad or distraught child.
4. Knowledge and experience
Looking after pets will teach them responsibility and to look outside themselves to the needs of others. Both these skills will of course be very valuable later in life. Keen interest in their pets or in specific breeds will also stimulate them to learn and read more about them, which can help their information seeking and information processing skills.
Long story short: yes, pets are a lot of work but they have so much to give back. I, for one, am very happy I got to share my childhood with pets!