A family pet is more than just an animal companion, it truly becomes a member of your family. Pets are with you during the ups and downs of day-to-day life. Their presence becomes part of the family dynamic and, often, are important parts of happiest memories made.
As parents, we are always looking for opportunities to educate our children outside of academia, teaching them to be compassionate, caring individuals. For a child, a pet can serve an important role in these valuable lessons. Research conducted by the late psychologist Robert Poresky of Kansas State University found that children who grew up with pets have higher “emotional intelligence” levels due to nurtured empathy skills, and according to a survey by the American Pet Product Association, 58 percent of pet owners say their pets help teach their kids responsibility.
So how can you (and your pet) provide your child with these lessons? Have a discussion with your child prior to bringing an animal in the home. Brainstorm age-appropriate tasks with which the child can assist. Explain to your little one the importance of their “job” and what they helping to accomplish. Make their tasks a privilege as opposed to a chore and praise their positive involvement. While older children have the ability to be more involved, there are still ways to engage younger children in the caretaking process, allowing them to benefit, as well.
What has your child learned from pet ownership? Connect with us on Facebook and show us the special bond between your child and their pet!