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18.12.15

10 Things Owning A Pet Teaches Children

This year it was estimated that 12 million, 46% of households, have pets in the UK. Of these almost a quarter own dogs, making it the most popular pet with Brits, with cats not far behind. These numbers are hardly surprising, when a pet is a welcome addition to any family, whether this is a dog, cat, hamster or even a fish.

But, besides many other benefits, pets can also teach children skills that will aide them as they grow. So before you start searching through the dogs or cats for sale from Freeads, here is what they can teach your child:  

1. Responsibility:

When children have a pet they must learn to look after something other than themselves. The pet will require feeding, exercise and affection everyday and the child must be aware of what they need, when they need it and provide it for them. This in turn will enable them to learn simple tasks, such as keeping food and water bowls topped up, grooming and exercising their pet.

2. Empathy:  

For your child to be able to fulfill your pet’s need, they will need to understand how they are feeling. They will learn the signs that mean they are hungry or need to go in the garden, for example.

3. Trust:

Your pet will become your child best friend and therefore will become someone they can talk to, without fear of being judged or told off. It will enable them to talk when they feel no one else is listening and not have that information passed on, which will help your child build trust with others.

4. Academic Skills:

Pets can play the role of teacher – with research showing that animals can actually boost academic skills. This is because pets, especially dogs, are a far better reading companion for children than adults, because the child is more relaxed when they can just read without being told when they have made a mistake.

5. Compassion:

Similar to learning empathy, your child must feel concern for their pets and work towards rectifying any situations that are causing them to suffer.   

6. Confidence:

As your child is able to fulfill the tasks your pet relies on them for, it will increase their confidence.

7. Social Skills:

Pets, particularly dogs, are great icebreakers – children will find themselves having several conversations whilst out on a walk with them. But just by being there, and providing an opportunity for the child to chat to them, will help with social skills. In fact, studies have shown that children with autism make substantial progress when they interact with a dog, so imagine what they could do if your child doesn’t have these restrictions on their social skills.

8. Bereavement:  

When your pet sadly passes away your child will learn the feelings of loss, but also how to cope during this period.

9. Loyalty:

A pet is extremely loyal to its owner and your child will learn the importance of reciprocating this loyalty.

10. Physical Activity:

Children with pets can learn that physical activity is fun, which will encourage them to become healthy and active.

There are many benefits to having a family pet, and all animals can teach your children these skills to some extent, however a dog, for example, will allow the opportunities to learn far more than a fish will. But, ultimately, it depends on your individual circumstances which pet is best for your family, bear in mind it will be more than just your child’s ‘teacher’ and will need looking after itself.