Yes, yes…and YES! In fact, don’t stop at one! Drop everything you are doing…seriously….go out a get a pet! You already have one? Go get another one….add a new type of pet to your family. Have you ever considered something other than a dog or cat? Whenever I hear someone ask, “Should I get a pet?,” there is no hesitation in my answer. The benefits of having family pets are truly amazing!
Many of us already know some of the top benefits of growing up with pets. Seriously, look at this picture. PURE JOY AND HAPPINESS! Studies show that growing up with pets creates:
HIGHER SELF ESTEEM…
(for both the child and the pet 😉)
LEARNING TO SHARE…
EMPATHY & COMPASSION…
THE MANY BENEFITS OF PETS~
However, there are so many other benefits as well. I constantly am reading about “screen time” rules. There are many learning opportunities with technology today, but kids also need to get outside. Time spent playing outside increases exponentially when they have the opportunity to play with their furry friends.
Which then leads to very interesting, yet fun bath times….
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF HAVING A PET~
Owning a furry friend also provides many life lessons. Lessons of birth, sickness and unfortunately death. These are not subjects we choose to talk about, however, they are a fact of life, and we must all teach our children how to deal with each one. They watch and learn from us when dealing with each of these situations.
Along with these lessons are ones more in the way of biology. What is the purpose of whiskers? How does a snake digest it’s food? If my pet is very small, like a goldfish, does it still have a heart? Why doesn’t a dog have to blow it’s nose? Does a cat really have 9 lives? How do birds sleep? How do you know if your hamster is a boy or a girl? So many learning opportunities here!!!
Another big topic is bullying. There is a myriad of articles out there explaining why having a pet helps curb bullying. This personal story discusses how having a pet helped out. Not only does she explain how her dog was a great companion, but it also gives examples of how animals (of all types) can be a benefit to children, even if you are not allowed to have pets in your current living situation: https://www.ourfamilyworld.com/bullying-and-cyberbullying/bullying-prevention-bullying-and-cyberbullying/pet-stop-bullying-boost-self-esteem/
TYPES OF PETS~
I urge you to consider letting your child raise different types of pets. Many people do not think of any companions besides a dog or cat. This is a great read on the types and benefits of other options available to us: https://www.healthline.com/health/best-pets-for-kids#brine-shrimp . Of course, all pets have different types of care you need to consider. Not all of these animals/reptiles are cuddly yet they can still be good companions.
Have you considered any of these options? Fish, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, birds, turtles, lizards, frogs, geckos, rats…yes rats! Explore your options!
SO…SHOULD I GET A PET?
Once again, YES! More than anything, pets help teach a child about unconditional love. A love that every child should receive and give!