For many of us, our childhood pets hold a special place in our hearts. Pets can benefit kids in the following ways:
Shy children get some social benefits from interacting with pets. The pet provides a safe recipient of the child’s affection, and your reserved child may find a pet is a good way to get comfortable expressing him or herself.
Children can learn responsibility and the importance of completing assigned chores when it’s their turn to take care of the family pet.
Empathy can also be taught to help children see beyond themselves when playing with the pet. (E.g., “How do you think it makes Bubby feel when you pull his tail?”) In fact, having a pet can help a child grow up with a more caring attitude toward other animals and people, too.
Kids can also learn the impact of big decisions, like getting a pet, by seeing that it’s something they can’t just undo when they don’t feel like taking care of the pet anymore.
Plus, having a pet is also a great chance to teach children about safe behavior around all animals.
Types of pets suitable for children
When care for the pet is really involved, it’ll be beyond the capabilities of small children. So make sure to choose pets for which they can handle most of the day-to-day care responsibilities and also enjoy to the max.
- Guinea pigs
- Small birds
- Small, friendly dogs
Remember to look at your local SPCA or pound to see if there are any suitable pets before purchasing one at a pet store. Rescuing a cat or dog can be a wonderful experience for children, and most will have already been treated for worms, fleas, etc.
But remember, a pet for your small child will ultimately be your responsibility at the end of the day. Check back on Friday to see more on how to tell when your family is NOT ready for a pet yet.