Sure! There is an obvious cuteness factor about why kids and pets belong together, but there are also great physical and emotional benefits to a relationship made between a child and their canine or feline best friend. I think we can agree that most adults raised with pets can look back on their childhood, remember their beloved pet, and give a reason why their furry family member impacted their life in one way or another.
If you are on the fence about adopting a pet into your family and you have children, listen up! We have six great reasons why you should:
- Adopting has health benefits! Having a pet in the house around infants can reduce the risk of your child developing allergies and asthma. In fact, a recent study found exposure to dogs during the first year of life was linked to a 13% lower risk of asthma in school age children, and farm animal exposure was linked to a 52% lower risk for school age children and a 31% lower risk among preschool age kids.
- They calm anxiety! It isn’t just adults who are affected by anxiety, stress, loneliness, and more. Kids feel it too. Pets can provide a non-judgmental, comforting environment to help with emotional struggles. In fact, a new study shows kids who live in a home with a pet dog score far lower on clinical measures of anxiety and rank higher in confidence measurements.
- Pets aid in exercise! This one is simple. Pets and kids both need exercise. By getting out for walks and having outdoor playtime, both get the health benefits of an active lifestyle.
- They provide reading confidence! Being a good reader takes practice, and for some kids, a safe place to make mistakes. What better audience than an unconditionally-loving pet? In fact, a study showed young students who read out loud to dogs improved their reading skills by 12 percent over the course of a 10-week program, while children in the same program who didn’t read to dogs showed no improvement.
- They teach empathy! As parents, one of the most important lessons you can teach your child is kindness, compassion, and empathy. Psychological studies have consistently shown that the way people treat animals is closely related to the way they treat people. When a child is introduced to a pet and shown how to treat them, the child is taught empathy and kindness with an immediate return in the form of licks, rubs, and tail wags.
- Adopting teaches responsibility! Dogs and cats have needs. And while little ones can’t always help out with the heavy lifting, it is important to teach them the importance of the needs of others and their role in the life of another being. Pet360 has great, simple tips on incorporating responsibilities of your pet at home.
If you’re looking for more reasons why your child needs a pet, we encourage you to search #KidsandPets asap! The combination of our little ones and our furry friends will leave you with a smile.
Happy National Pets & Kids Day! Use #OKKidsPets today to show us your kiddos– furry and furless.