For many children, growing up with animals is a dream come true. From ready-made playmates to comforting companions, pets can help children to navigate the world from a very young age. Whilst adopting any animal is a big commitment, it can also be extremely rewarding. Here are a few reasons why growing up with animals is a great way to enhance your child’s early years.

Growing Up With Animals Teaches Children Important Life Lessons

When adopting an animal, responsibility is the first word that springs to mind. Adopting an animal is a big commitment; animals can be very tying and in some cases, live for many years. However, raising a pet is something that can involve the whole family, if done in the right way. With adult supervision, children can be involved in tasks such as feeding, grooming, and helping to keep living areas clean. Therefore, pet ownership helps to teach children important life lessons, such as being responsible, in a fun and rewarding way.

Pets Help Teach Compassion and Compromise

One of the most important parts of owning a pet is learning to understand their behavioural traits. Pets can’t tell us their problems directly, so special attention is required to make sure they are happy and healthy. A key part of this is creating healthy boundaries with family pets, so that they don’t feel stressed or overwhelmed.

When it comes to supervised interaction between children and animals, understanding and maintaining such boundaries is vital. In learning to be respectful, gentle and kind, this shows children the importance of compassion and empathy for living creatures. In responding to an animal’s care needs, children must also learn the importance of compromise, too. For example, learning to meet an animal’s basic needs before playtime helps children to consider the needs of others. Enhanced empathy allows children to grow into well-rounded adults and helps them to successfully navigate the world in later life.

Pets Encourage Children To Get Outdoors

In an increasingly digital age, it’s important to foster a love for the great outdoors in the younger generation. Spending time outside with pets, large or small, is a great way for everyone to enjoy much needed regular exercise. Involving children in outdoor play with pets is highly enriching, and helps build trust and encourage good mental health. Whether you’re walking your dog, riding your horse, or letting your rabbit stretch his legs; taking in the fresh air in a safe and sensible way allows everyone to enjoy the benefits of time outside.

Growing Up With Animals Can Help Facilitate Difficult Conversations

Owning a pet is a long-term commitment and in most cases, owners do out-live their pets. Therefore, losing a pet to illness or old age might be a child’s first experience of loss. Whilst this is a difficult reality of owning a pet, it can be a good opportunity for families to have constructive conversations around grief in a safe environment. Honest conversations about loss at a young age could help children to overcome losses more easily in later life. This could also highlight the importance of cherishing good memories and living for the moment, too.

Interested in bringing a pet into your household? Why not consider adopting a rescue animal? Find our article on the benefits of rescuing an animal here.

Milly Harrison
Milly Harrison is a postgraduate student, writer, and dog lover from the North-West of England.

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