Children and pets go hand in hand. The excitement of nurturing another being, which quickly becomes a best friend, is incomparable to anything else. The experience creates lifelong memories – we always remember our first pet.
Pets are an integral part of our lives as Australians. About 80% of Australians have an animal companion at some time. Pets are important in children’s lives as they provide enjoyment and help children develop responsibilities transferable to adulthood. Sometimes pet relationships are ranked higher than certain kinds of human relationships for comfort, esteem, support and confidence. Pet ownership positively affects your children in more ways than one. Having a pet isn’t just fun, it benefits your child’s development.
Having a relationship with a pet can help develop such skills as:
- nurturing skills
- a caring attitude
Studies have shown that children with pets:
- have higher self esteem
- have improved social skills
- are more likely to be physically active, and less likely to be overweight or obese.
Some ideas for first pets for children include:
- guinea pig
Bringing a pet into the family is not a decision that should be made lightly. It first must be a commitment by the parents, not the child. The parents will ultimately be responsible for the pet’s welfare. However, once that commitment has been made and an appropriate pet has been found for the family, the joys and benefits of the pet relationship will last for many years to come.