Children and pets

I always joke that I don’t understand people who don’t like pets, but there is a hint of truth there. How we treat animals says a great deal about our character. We don’t have to love animals to treat them with respect and decency. Children watch how we interact with all creatures from the tiniest bug to a massive elephant.

Pets are amazing, and I can’t imagine my life without my cat and dog. I am somewhat biased having grown up in a house full of pets though. One year we had two dogs, two kittens, a canary named yellow eagle, an aquarium full of fish, two teddy bear hamsters, and some newts. There was never a dull moment or a lack of chores that’s for sure.

I always encourage people to let their children have an age-appropriate and family appropriate pet. The family will need to decide what classes as age suitable or family appropriate, but there are so many benefits to owning a pet that it’s worth talking about.

Last week I read an article that reviewed 22 different studies on the benefits of owning a pet. The conclusion was that children who grow up with pets have higher self-esteem, higher cognitive development, and higher social skills. All the studies discussed the general health benefits which are: lower stress, lower blood pressure, increased mood, and that pets help to prevent strokes in older people.

But did you know that according to the studies that children who have pets tend to be more obedient, physically active, are less moody, and have fewer behavioral problems?

Pets teach children to give unconditional love, and that taking their fear and anger out on others is inappropriate. Pets help children learn empathy, confidence, and responsibility. Children with pets learn to socialize and have increased verbal skills.

Be sure to check out Kaylee’s adventures with her kitty Sir Thomas and Thomas’ Adventures with his puppy Melissa.

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