Adopting a dog or cat can be a wonderful way to add to your family. Watching your kids’ faces light up when you finally give them the ‘yes’ they’ve been waiting for, and then letting them help pick out the perfect pet can be a priceless memory. Plus, growing up with a pet can be incredibly beneficial for children and enhance their quality of life.
If your family is ready to adopt a pet, here are just a few of the ways it can impact your child’s development in a positive way:
1. Instills Responsibility.
Kids are often incredibly excited to have a new dog or cat and want to do everything they can to help out. But after the initial novelty wears off, they still must do their part and assist with feeding, brushing, walking, and playing with their furry friend. The dog is now part of the family and deserves to be cared for. Having a pet can teach your child that they must continue doing these tasks even if they don’t feel like it.
2. Boosts Self-Esteem.
Whether your child is walking the dog or filling up the cat’s water dish, it can give them a personal sense of pride that they are helping and doing something on their own (even when supervised by a parent). Plus, they get the reward of love and attention from the family pet, which can be positive reinforcement and make them feel good. A lot of kids also find benefit in practicing reading to their pet because there is no judgment; just a quiet, loyal listener.
3. Improves Socialization.
A lot of people are naturally attracted to animals. When out walking your dog or playing in the park, there will inevitably be people who come up to ask what kind of dog it is, how old, or if they can pet it. This can be a great ice breaker and give your child an easy segue into talking to peers or neighbors. Even shy children may be more open when discussing something they love and that excites them, such as the family dog.
4. Increases Physical Activity.
Going outside and playing fetch, chasing each other around, or just going for a walk can increase the amount of physical activity your child gets each day. Knowing they have to take the dog out to the bathroom can get them moving and be a nice break from school work or screen time. Let them pick out some fun toys they want to play together with your pet.
5. Reduces Stress.
The mere act of petting a dog or cat – the repetitive act of running your hand down its back over and over again – can be incredibly calming. If your child is having a bad day, they can snuggle up next to their dog or have their cat curled up in their lap and just relax. They can vent their worries or frustrations to their pet who will just quietly listen and give them the love and attention they need.
6. Teaches Empathy.
Being responsible for a pet also teaches your child to care for someone other than themselves. They become more sensitive and aware of the dog’s needs as they paw at their dish for food, stand by the back door to go outside, or bring over a toy because they want to play. It can also teach them to be kind and gentle in their interactions and respect boundaries.
Having a pet can bring a lot of joy to your child’s life, and to your family. It can be heart-warming to watch your kids grow up with a dog or cat they adore and learn to become more responsible and caring. During times when you can’t take your pet along, teach your child how to ensure they are safe and well cared for by boarding them at Lake Wylie Pet Resort. Contact us today to schedule your pet’s next stay!