Children & Pets: A Likely Team for Learning

Bailey’s 2 Biscuits…

    This article is soooo true! I think every child should have a pet, starting at a very young age. If children grow up with pets (furries, feathers, scales, etc.), they’re more likely to grow into adults that have pets. Then they’re more likely to have children who have pets. And so on, and so on… ;)

Children are natural learners

From the moment they are born, they are absorbing the environment around them. Children learn from their mothers, fathers, siblings, and other family members. If there are pets in the family, is it possible for children to learn from them as well. In many homes, pets are treated just like one of the family. Whether you have a dog, cat, bird, or other animal, pets do a lot to help children develop into warm, caring, responsible individuals.

Children Teach Pets, Pets Teach Children

Even at a young age, there are many things children can do to help take an active role in caring for their pet. Family members should take time to discuss and carefully plan which type of pet they should bring into their home so it’s a positive experience for everyone. Whichever pet they choose, children can help name it. If they choose to have a dog, children can help by brushing it. Children can join an adult while taking their dog for a walk. They can also put food and water in their dog’s bowls, and even teach their dog tricks. Children will gain a sense of independence and confidence when they see their pet obeying their commands. What fun it is for children to show Mommy and Daddy what they have taught Rover to do. Teaching pets to do tricks also reinforces the act of listening in children. Children must get their pets to listen to them in order to teach them, just as parents must get their children to listen to them.

If children have a cat as a pet, they might learn that cats are a bit more independent than dogs and that they act very differently. They’ll learn that all animals are individual and unique, just as people are.

Birds can teach children a lot about themselves…they are very much like children in a way — they require a lot of attention, you have to clean up after them, and many times they will talk back to you :). Children would love taking care of a pet bird, and would be amazed at what they are capable of learning.

Smaller pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, or hamsters, are also favorites among children. These animals are small enough to hold, and very portable, with or without their cage. These smaller animals need to have their cages cleaned often, which might be too big a task for younger children to handle. So, if parents choose to have this type of pet in the family, children will see how responsible their parents are by helping to keep their pet’s environment clean. They may also see how important it is to clean their room each day. But children will definitely learn about caring for a creature that cannot fend for itself nearly as well as a dog or cat.

Pets can help families during difficult times. Spending time with a pet can greatly reduce the amount of stress that family members feel. In times of frustration, pets can help children relax and ease their minds of painful issues.

Companionship & Compassion

Each pet adds another type of responsibility for the child, and they learn to care for a living creature. But besides all the responsibility, they learn about companionship. Pets give love unconditionally, with no expectations. So if a child is not having a good day and happens to yell at the family dog, they’ll learn that their pets do not hold a grudge. Pets provide friendship, and are wonderful listeners as well. Taking care of pets gives children the ability to develop their social skills, and helps give them the compassion to show affection, patience, and kindness toward others.

Life & Health

As pets get older, health issues may arise and open a new area of learning for children. Accompanying their parents to the veterinarian can be scary at first, but they’ll learn that their pet’s doctor is there to take care of their pet, just as their own doctor is there to take care of them. If their pet needs to take any medication, they can be there to support their pet, and be involved in the process of making them well. If a serious illness threatens their pet, parents can teach their children age-appropriate facts about life, and how to handle uncertain situations.

 


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