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8 Reasons How a Pet Can Boost Your Child’s Development

What joy it is to feel unconditional love, don’t you agree? For those of us who have pets, we know the kind of pure and unconditional love that they give us every day. While International Pet Day (April 11th) is for us to cuddle our pets, hug them a little tighter, and celebrate their presence in our lives, it is also a day to create awareness and foster positive interactions between pets and humans. The heartfelt theme of this year’s Pet Day is “Don't Shop! Adopt!”, which simply translates as a request to prospective pet owners to bring down the number of animals in shelters by adopting them.

Are you a pet parent already? Need some ideas that will make your pet companion feel pampered? Perhaps treat them to a pet spa day, bake a pet-friendly cake, buy them a toy they would enjoy, or simply take them out for a walk or drive.

While pets are a fantastic addition to any household, have you ever wondered about their relationship with your younger ones at home? Children form an unbreakable bond with their pets – much like siblings. It is said that children who grow up with pets develop several important qualities and life skills.

Let’s have a look at the benefits of having a pet for your child:

1. Improves Child Immunity

The immune response in babies and toddlers is easily adaptable to the pets around them. Such children are less likely to be affected by allergies, infections, and even common colds and coughs compared to their peers who are not exposed to pets. Studies suggest that babies who have early contact with cats and dogs are 30% less likely to fall sick.

2. Encourages Empathy

Understanding the needs of your pet and catering to them is a huge lesson in empathy. Children who have pets usually have a sense of care and responsibility towards their pet friend, and they tend to look out for its wellbeing. They may even put aside their needs for the sake of the pet. For parents and caregivers who are looking to teach their children a lesson in empathy, getting them a pet would be a great start.

3. Promotes Accountability

The idea of taking care of someone else is extremely powerful to little ones. And when they have a chance to do that, they usually develop confidence and a sense of responsibility. The importance of developing these life skills cannot be stressed enough. And how wonderful is it to see your pet help your child develop them into a responsible human?

4. Advances Social Skills

Children constantly communicate with the pets in their homes. You may even notice that, over time, they understand each other very well. It helps promote verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Pets also encourage children to socialize with others who have pets, forming a common connection.

5. Creates Opportunities for Play

Having a pet is much like having a friend to play with. Pets are the only ones who can probably match the energy of a toddler or preschooler. If you have a pet dog or cat or even a rabbit, watch your child engaging in games with them all day long without either of them getting tired. For parents, it is a real winner as both the child and the pet are actively engaged.

6. Fosters Self-esteem

Receiving affection and positive attention from a pet can do wonders for a child's self-esteem. The unconditional love and acceptance offered by a dog or cat can be a powerful source of reassurance and confidence for children.

7. Boosts Emotional Development

The mood-boosting benefits of having a pet extend to the entire family. There is a sense of comfort and companionship that they provide. Pets offer a non-judgmental companionship that can be incredibly beneficial for children's emotional well-being. In fact, pet companions like birds, fishes, guinea pigs, dogs, cats, and hamsters are known to reduce anxiety and stress, and aid good mental health in children. There is a meaningful emotional connection that pets and children build, which has several psychological benefits.

8. Teaches About the Life Cycle

Birth, childbearing, and death are all part of a pet’s life as much as it is ours. Children are often introduced to these concepts because of their pets. Their learning is enhanced and so is their ability to deal with emotions that come through the life cycle. For instance, the passing away of a pet can feel like a huge loss but children also learn to cope with it, grieve, and recover.

There are numerous other benefits of having pets. Several studies are validating how it has a positive effect on child development. If your child has been asking for a pet and you are still on the fence about it, we hope this article is encouragement enough to fulfill your child’s wish already! Trust us, an animal companion will make a terrific addition to your home and your child’s life. So, let the tail wags, the happy meows, and the giggles commence

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