I grew up in a household where pets were not permitted. I sure did long for one, though, so as soon as I hit college, I bought myself a dog and a cat. Not the wisest decision I’ve made in my life at that time because of time factors, but it was nice to have that option finally.
Now, I am not saying my parents scarred me or that I am any less of a person because I grew up pet free, but I do see many positive benefits in my children from growing up in a home with pets.
You don’t have to go overboard like I have at times in the pet department, but having a family pet will reap many rewards in your home.
When I say overboard, we have had as many as 3 inside dogs, 2 cats, 11 dairy goats, and until recently, chickens and cows. We recently made a big move and sold the chickens, no longer have the goats or cats, and we are now eating Lover Boy. We currently only have one dog here at my house, and the children have a couple of dogs and cats at their dad’s house.
The 9 Reasons Every Child Needs a Pet
- Increases Childhood Responsibility. Children realize that they are responsible for providing for the needs of others and not just themselves. It helps them to see that they are capable of caring for something that is dependent on them and helps them get out of the “it’s only about me” box. They start to learn that their choices affect others. If they go to bed late, then the animal still needs providing for early in the morning. This is real life.
- Increases Activity and Movement. Pet owners are more likely to go outside and be more active than non-pet owners. My children love to take the dogs for a walk and tend to play with the animals each time they take them outside for a potty break. Playing throw and fetch is always a work out for my children.
- Trains in Time Management. Children are required to keep some sort of schedule. Often they will make up their own schedule around the needs of the animals. The animals need to eat a couple of times per day, so the kids need to see to that as well as take care of their other needs.
- Experiences Death. This is one of the hardest parts of being a pet owner. I have consoled my children on many occasions when we have lost a pet. I just remember how painful it was when my Grandpa died; I had never experienced any sort of death before and it was really hard for me. My children understand that the Lord gives and takes away. It still breaks my heart when my children are heart-broken over a loss of a pet, but unfortunately, death is a part of life and I am thankful that they are learning how to process their grief in healthy ways.
- Provides Companionship. There is nothing sweeter than watching my children snuggle with our dog while reading or watching a movie. Dogs are truly a man’s best friend and miniature dairy goats come in second.
- Exposure to the Birds and Bees. All I am going to say is that you will have many questions to answer after your children witness first hand their pet giving birth. In fact, I think I gave the whole neighborhood a biology lesson when one of our goat mamas gave birth to triplets. It’s truly amazing to me how God prepares these animals for birth and how they know exactly how to care for them.
- Builds Self Esteem. The children are aware that their pet depends on them to survive. This builds self-worth.
- Tends to Lower Blood Pressure. Children’s blood pressure tends to be lower due to the excess activity that takes place when they take care of and play with the pet. I think there is also a calming aspect involved.
- Less Risk of Developing Allergies. Children being exposed frequently to animal dander are less likely to develop allergies as an adult, especially if they are brought up in a pet-friendly home in the early years of life.
If you are on the fence about getting a pet for your child, please take into consideration that you must be prepared to train your children on how to be responsible for the pet. I have carefully taught my children the expectation of responsibility for caring for a pet. Even little children, while not yet ready for completely caring for a pet on their own, can do tasks such as giving the pet water or some other simple task like cleaning up after them with Swiffer products.
Swiffer products are so fun for children. My children have been cleaning with the ease of Swiffer products for years. So, if pet mess is a concern, teach your children how to properly use Swiffer products, and you will be surprised how easy it is to contain the excessive pet hair and dander.
I have a rule for my kids that I don’t budge on…..If you have a pet and you don’t care for it properly, then I will find a home that will take care of the pet. It sounds harsh, but I’ve only had to do it once. Trust me, the whole family learned that lesson. Mommy is serious about the finding a new home deal. I love our pets, but I don’t plan on taking over their duties. The ball is in their court. If the children take their responsibilities seriously, then all is good.
I would love to hear if you agree with me on my 9 Reasons on why every child needs a pet.
Yay or Nay?