There's nothing more adorable than a kid with a puppy, knowing they'll grow up together and become inseparable friends. Far from just being cute, there are also very real health and social benefits that come along with growing up with a pet.
Here are six benefits to raising a kid with a furry friend:
1. Pets teach responsibility.
Having a pet is a lot of work. Any kind of animal a family chooses is going to need to be fed and cleaned up after. Most pet choices will require exercise and plenty of attention to make sure it has a happy, healthy life. Taking an active role in the daily duties surrounding caring for a pet will teach children responsibility for these essential tasks.
2. Kids with pets have fewer allergies.
Researchers have found that newborns who are exposed to animals are less likely to develop allergies later in life. While many parents rightfully try to keep their babies away from harmful diseases, spending time with animals early on bolsters the development of their immune system.
3. Animals relieve stress.
Service animals are often given to those who have been through trauma as a way to provide comfort and relieve stress. Growing up with a pet can offer the same advantages for comfort during the trials and tribulations that are bound to come up during one's youth. By keeping their stress to a minimum throughout childhood, kids grow up to be happier and healthier adults.
4. Kids will get more exercise.
Because dogs need to be walked several times a day and go to the park to run around, children who have dogs get more exercise per week than their peers who don't have pets. Exercise is important for reducing the risk of childhood obesity and will likely lead to more active lifestyles in adulthood as well.
5. Kids become better readers.
Learning to read can be a struggle for many children. While getting additional practice reading out loud is crucial for improving literacy, a kid who struggles with reading often feels embarrassed to read to another person. However, reading to a pet gives them the practice they need, and allows them to feel safer and more secure doing so.
6. Kids develop a sense of compassion.
Pets give children firsthand experience at the power of kindness. Loving actions, such as petting, are met with snuggles or even licks as "kisses," while rough handling is not welcomed. Kids can see the difference they can make by taking care of an animal and learn how good it feels to be compassionate to others.
Of course, having a pet isn't right for everyone. Sometimes there are medical concerns or living arrangements that aren't good for bringing an animal home, and animals shouldn't be adopted unless it can be done so properly.
What's the greatest thing you've learned from a pet? Let us know in the comments!
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