For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve shared my life with pets; they truly are some of nature’s most wonderful companions. Cats, dogs, bunnies, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the species that I spent my formative years with. And I loved horse riding too! Growing up with pets really is the best.
Squiggle and I love our pets dearly and they are very important members of our family (and she sees them as her best friends). I honestly believe that pets and people offer each other the opportunity to find our best selves. Studies have shown that these positive feelings about growing up with pets aren’t just anecdotal though, there are actually some pawsome (hehe) developmental and learning based pros…
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognise, understand, assist and work with the emotions of others. Having a pet in the home helps children to understand that sometimes caring for others’ needs ahead of our own wants is a necessity. This maturity helps kids to recognise this in other animals and people as they grow.
Sometimes, childhood can be lonely. It takes time to learn how to bond with people (especially if you have special needs) and your friends aren’t always available when you need or want them. Children with pets are generally considered happier and this is because they turn to their animal companions for comfort as much (sometimes more) than their human ones.
Kids love to talk to the animals in their lives, I suspect most adults do too; I know I do. The act of talking to a pet helps both young children and those who struggle to communicate to develop essential verbal, social and emotional recognition skills. In fact, the act of communicating and interacting like this even goes so far as building your child’s natural affinity for empathy.
Pet therapy works incredibly well with stress and a variety of mental health conditions. Equally, it is especially efficient for helping those with ASD and ADD regulate emotions and cope with intense situations. Having a household or garden animal means that those who need it have a consistent place to relax, focus and process through the things they’re struggling with.
Interestingly, growing up in a household alongside a pet typically results in a much lower chance of developing allergies. It is really quite bizarre as we’re not just talking animal allergies but statistically speaking we’re talking allergies in general; including but not limited to food. Of course, genetics play a part, so nothing is guaranteed, but scientific studies have identified a clear association between those who were raised with animals and those not.
A child learning to read is more likely to feel comfortable reading to their animals than they are a sibling, friend and most adults. A lot of this comes from them being able to try and fail in safety. Similarly, when processing new information; children with a close bond with their pets are more likely to talk things through with them to help put newfound knowledge into context.
Raising an animal companion is a huge responsibility, and it takes some time to become the best owner you can be. However, pets also bring a lot to the table. In return for your care, they give you unconditional love, affection, and loyalty. They’re always happy to see you too (one thing even your closest family and friends can’t be all the time), which is a huge mood and confidence booster.
Because of the pandemic and social isolation, many people have recently adopted puppies and other pet animals for companionship. Dogs are excellent pets, but they also take a lot of work. If you got a new puppy, check out this ultimate dog care guide to better prepare yourself for your new responsibilities as a dog owner.
Do your kids have a pet? What benefits have you noticed?
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*This is a collaborative post