Family life might seem chaotic enough without adding a pet to the mix! However, there are many different benefits associated with having a furry friend . This include improvements in mental, physical and emotional well-being as well as enhanced social skills. They can also help to provide motivation when it comes to getting round to doing some exercise and are a way of keeping loneliness at bay.
Owning a pet is certainly popular at the moment. Research recently conducted by Voucherbox has found that over half of all UK households have a pet. Dogs are the most popular choice with a quarter of pet-owning families having one, closely followed by cats at 24%. According to the PFMA, other animals in the top-ten include fish, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and even lizards! If you are thinking about making an addition to your home here are five reasons why animals could be good for your child as well as family life.
1. They Offer Companionship to Children
Pets can provide comfort and companionship to children, whether they have siblings or not. In fact, companionship is a key reason why people decide to get a pet whether they are young or old. Whilst they may not be able to respond verbally, pets are regarded as such great companions due to being good listeners and being non-judgemental. They provide loyal company as well as unconditional love too which can have a positive impact on your child’s mood as well as overall development.
2. They Keep Kids Moving
Having a pet can be good for your child's health. Dogs in particular encourage regular outdoor activity whether this is a simple walk around the block or a run in the park. As your child gets older, longer walks are possible too, meaning lots of fresh air and a good night’s sleep for everyone at the end of the day. Dogs aren’t the only animal to help induce activity though. Rabbits also enjoy a good run in the garden and can encourage children to play outside. Getting into healthy exercise habits now also instils a good routine for the future too.
3. They Often Aid Learning
Pets can help children to develop core skills such as reading. A dog, or other pet is seen as a less intimidating audience to read aloud to and as a result there is less embarrassment or anxiety associated with the task. Sometimes dogs are used in schools and even libraries as educational and therapeutic aids to make children feel more comfortable as well as help teach things such as empathy, respect and kindness.
4. They Encourage a Sense of Responsibility
Another way pets can enhance your child’s development is through the sense of responsibility they can help to instil. This can be through things like regular feeding, washing and cleaning of hutches or cages. Children can get involved with the process of choosing the right food for their pet, such as Nutra Thrive for Cats if they've got a cat, and learning about pet nutrition. These are lessons that might be useful in later life! All these actions help children to learn the importance of looking after things and providing regular care. It can also give them a sense of satisfaction when they have carried out tasks involved with looking after their pet well.
5. They Create Lasting Memories for the Whole Family
Finally, whist pets can have a number of benefits for children, they can also be a good addition to family life as a whole too. Helping to look after a pet and care for it gives families the chance to bond as well as share experiences and make moments to look back on in years to come.
Written by: Liz Rothwell.
Linking up to #twinklytuesday
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.