Life may be feeling a little out of control right now for you and your family. You may be struggling with personal issues or issues that are in the news. With everything going on, you may wonder if investing in a pet right now is a good idea with everything else on your plate. In truth, right now may be the perfect time to adopt a pet and provide your children with many important life lessons that they will remember for their whole lives. You will be surprised how many lessons pets teach our children plus will bring them comfort and unconditional love that is needed in their life now.
One of the first lessons pets teach children is responsibility. Caring for pets involves many different activities, which can become the responsibility of children. Children can help feed and provide water for pets of all types. They can get exercise by taking pets out for walks. Children can be given the responsibility of cleaning and changing cat litter, cleaning up after dogs, or cleaning the cages of smaller animals.
The key is to set clear expectations for your children and not to jump in and complete them if they do not meet those expectations. Instead, one way to grow your children’s ability to be responsible is to simply remind them if they have forgotten a task or help them create a system that works for them. For example, some children might do well if a chore chart is created, and they can get a smile drawn next to the tasks they have completed.
Pets can also help children’s social and emotional development skills. They can help children learn how to read social cues such as when a pet wants playtime and needs to go out or needs more alone time. Pets can also teach children about emotion regulation, empathy, relationship management, and problem-solving through day-to-day interactions. Learning to read what a pet wants or needs can help children have a better idea of what their friends, family members, or themselves want and need. These are skills that all children need to develop, and in these times when many are staying closer to home than ever before, it is vital that parents make sure to purposely incorporate these skills into their children’s lives.
Pets can also provide support to children who are struggling with mental health. They give unconditional love to children, and many seem to have an uncanny ability to know when someone is not feeling well and just need cuddles and support. Pets are also great listeners, who never judge, and allow children to process what they are feeling about their lives and the world around them. While recently, there have been robots that have been developed to support children’s mental health, pets can provide a different level of comfort.
While as parents we would hope we would always be available for our children, in reality, there will always be times when we are distracted, or dealing with our own challenges and can not give our children the attention they need. If your household is filled with pets, they can take on some of this support and comfort role, so when you are focused on your children, you can give them more of your full attention.
So if you have been wondering if you should get a pet for your children as you are juggling many other factors going on in the world right now, the answer is YES. Pets can support children in many different ways, including teaching them responsibility, helping their social and emotional development, and providing comfort if they are struggling with mental health. So get that pet your child has been asking for over and over and over.
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