Learn From Having a Pet

What Can Kids Learn From Having a Pet? – 9 Benefits

Many of us have pets at home with our kids but you may not realise how beneficial it is for kids to live with pets and grow up with pets!

There are life lessons such as responsibility, empathy and compassion, as well as the opportunity to live a more active lifestyle and learning to live in the moment! Let’s get into it!
Here are 10 Benefits of giving kids the opportunity to grow up with Pets:

  1. Responsibility – Caring for a pet and understanding its needs for food and fresh water as well as cleaning up after them teaches responsibility and builds their independence skills too. When parents encourage children to be directly involved in or responsible for feeding their pet, cleaning up after them and caring for them, it can develop feelings of accomplishment, importance and trust, which will in turn develop their self esteem and confidence as responsible human beings.
  2. Develop compassion and empathy – Kids who grow up with pets learn to be empathetic, putting the needs of their pet before their own needs. If a pet is sick, kids can learn how to be compassionate and care for their pet in a sensitive way, considering their needs and their feelings. If someone forgets to feed the animal, kids can learn to empathise with feeling hungry and not having availability to food. There have been studies to show that when kids have an attachment to a pet, they seem to have higher empathy scores.
  3. Active Lifestyle – Having pets at home promotes physical activity in many forms!
    Our pets need exercise so whether that means taking them to the park, for a bushwalk, playing fetch in the backyard or just playing some hide and seek with them, active pets will encourage activity in kids! Families with pets are often more
    active than families without pets and if our pets are not getting the exercise they need, they usually let us know!
  4. The value of play, joy and living in the moment! – We can learn so much from our pets if we pay attention! Pets do not worry about the past or stress about the future, they live in the moment! They live for joy and play and spending quality time with loved ones. Kids can learn valuable lessons from pets about embracing play, laughing and enjoying games with them and simply loving life.. now, in the moment.
  5. Life lessons about birth, death, loss and grief – These life lessons are not easy sometimes, but it can open up communication with family members about dealing with difficult emotions such as grief, sadness and loss if and when it’s time to say goodbye to our pets. Sometimes having a pet and saying goodbye to a pet is the only time a child may get the chance to experience loss and grief and as difficult as this time may be for everyone in the family, it’s also an opportunity for emotional growth.
  6. Socials Skills and Verbal Communication – Kids chat to their pets, they confide in them, they ask them questions and pets don’t judge! When kids interact with their pets, they are learning valuable social skills as well as developing their language skills and vocabulary. Kids who have pets at home often have improved social skills related to interactions, cooperation and communication skills. There has also been studies to show having pets at home significantly improves the social skills of kids with autism too.
  7. How to behave around dogs SAFELY! – Owning a pet can teach kids that it’s important to treat animals with respect and that if animals are mistreated, they may lash out, they may bite, they may hurt us. It’s also vital that children understand how to approach dogs they do not know with caution, and they should always ask an owner if they can approach their dog. Having a pet at home can help open up these lines of communication in families about safely approaching animals we are not familiar with, whether on the street, in a park or anywhere in public.
  8. Patience – Having pets teaches us patience. Patience with training our pets, teaching them important lessons such as with house training, obedience, socialisation and with any house rules you may have. Teaching pets any kinds of important lessons takes time, effort and lots of patience, especially if you have a puppy! Kids can be a part of the training process and as long as kids are taught HOW to train the animal correctly, with repetition, positive rewards and with patience, these are valuable lessons for kids too!
  9. Pets decrease stress and anxiety and give us affection! – Kids can learn that their pets are a comfort to them, they give affection, love and attention. Confiding in our pets, hugging them and seeking comfort in their company and experiencing joy playing with them all help to improve mood and allow kids to learn to associate being with pets with positive feelings and this in turn will decrease feelings of stress and anxiety in kids, leading to increased overall wellbeing.
About the author

Liz Michelle

Liz Michelle from Teaching Brave blog is a single mum, early childhood teacher and parenting blogger from Sydney who enjoys sharing articles on early childhood development, money saving tips and parenting tips.

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5 rounds of

  • 5 inch worms
  • 10 push ups
  • 10 squats
  • 30s – 1min plank
  • 30s – 1min bridge