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Your five-year-old wants a puppy or kitten for his birthday. Will you relent? Believe it or not, there are benefits to children having a pet that far outweigh the horrendous possibility of messy floors, chewed furniture, and smelly house. What are they? Read on.
Pets make for great playmates for children and, despite the additional work such as walking and feeding a dog, the advantages far outweigh all the cleaning up and occasional accidental mishaps that may occur.
Barring any health issues, such as allergies to fur, or housing restrictions, there shouldn’t be a problem getting children to experience owning their first dog, cat, hamster, or guinea pig at a young age. Here are three reasons why pets in the house can be a good thing.
It teaches responsibility
Research shows the advantages of involving the family in all aspects of pet care do not stop with kids simply learning when to refill the food bowl, or how to bathe and groom their furry friends. Walking Pluto every afternoon instills a sense of responsibility and accountability in children. They quickly learn that if the dog isn’t taken outside on time, it will most likely make a mess of the house. Children learn consequence. They get a boost to their self-esteem, too, when you praise them for doing a good job in caring for their pets.
It helps develop a child’s EQ
Children learn not to pull on the ears or tails, or handle pets in a way that would hurt or upset them. Taking care of another living thing develops their empathy and allows them to become less self-centered. By learning to read an animal’s nonverbal cues, children acquire invaluable lessons on how to be sensitive to the needs of others.
Pets mean less stress
Wait… what? Added responsibility means less stress? But believe it or not, it’s true. Research shows that pets help alleviate stress, from something as simple as school work to major life changes like moving to a new city or separation of parents.