Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Benefits of Pets for Kids

Are you debating whether or not you should get that new puppy? Or that kitten? Or any pet for that matter? Obviously this decision is difficult and based on many factors, and pets aren’t for every family. One of the main questions on every parent’s mind is, “will getting a pet be good for my kids or will it be a detriment to our family dynamics?” Well we’ve put together a list to help you answer this question. Though as we said before, pets are not for every family or child, in the right atmosphere they can be beneficial for children!

1. Responsibility: Perhaps the best thing a pet can teach your child is responsibility. Pets are dependent on their owners for survival. Having your children help take on the responsibility to feed, water, and exercise their pets teaches self discipline and develops children’s sense of nurturing. Furthermore, it teaches your children about commitment and consequences. Commitment comes with ownership. If you want a pet, you must take care of it. You are responsible for them for their entire life. If you can’t handle the commitment, you will lose your pet (either you’ll have to sell it or it will die).  Lastly, all actions have consequences. If you don’t feed your fish, it will die. If you leave the gate open, the dog can run away. Children will begin to learn to think before they do. All of these are great skills to have for life.

2. Learning: Pets actually help kids learn! Aside from learning responsibility and how to take care of something, kids can learn a bunch from their pets! With pets, your children will learn both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Through commands they learn how to be assertive with their voice. Through interacting with their animals, they will learn how to read cues because clearly animals can’t talk. Furthermore, being with animals can help ease stress and help sustain focus, this can help when doing homework and in learning other things! Finally, pets can teach your child about bigger life ideas such as unconditional love and the circle of life (humans almost always outlive their pets).

 3. Fun, Entertainment & Physical Activity:  Having a playful pet around can entertain your children for hours. Not only does this give you a break, but it is a much better alternative than them watching television! Additionally, for pets that need exercise, caring for pets is a great way to keep your  children active.

4. Allergens! This item on the list was new to me. When doing research for this post we stumbled upon this website: http://voices.yahoo.com/10-reasons-kids-pet-8288127.html?cat=25. They explained that, “Doctors used to think that exposure to pets caused allergies. New studies have now shown that the opposite is actually true. Web MD reports that children who live with dogs and cats in the house during their first year actually have a reduced risk of developing allergies. Not only are they less likely to react to pet dander, but the protection also seems to extend to outdoor allergens as well. The theory behind this protection is that the high exposure to pet dander allows the immune system to de-sensitize to harmless antigens, leaving it less likely to react inappropriately.”

5. Built-in-friend: This last benefit is dedicated to all the pets who stuck by their humans through thick and thin. Not only is this just for your kids but for you as well. When your kids or yourself feel lonely, stressed, anxious or anything else, a pet is always there to comfort you and give you love and support. They don’t say much, but just a nuzzle, hug, or pat can do wonders for your mood

     To go along with our “pets are good for you” theme, we spoke to Dawn Cordeiro of Farm Visits. Her business brings baby farm animals to you for any occasion and provides a hands on experience with them. 

Dawn supports us and says that interactions with animals “teach kindness and compassion.” “I think overall it teaches them responsibility, you know? To care for another living being.” She expands to talking about farm animals and says that they teach children about “where their food comes from. Children [and people in general] are very distanced from their food origin. It really comes from a farm, not Stop & Shop.”

We next asked Dawn her expert opinion on what makes a good pet and she listed three right off the bat: “Dog, kitty, bunny.” Those aren’t a surprise to hear, but the next thing she says may be! Dawn says that as far as outdoor pets go, goats are the way to go! She explains, “They’re friendly, easy to care for and feed, and they mow your lawn!”

To learn more about Dawn and Farm Visits,

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