Did you know that over 84 million American families own pets?
Cats, dogs, and other animals make great additions to the home, but they’re more than just fun companions. Caring for pets is an amazing way to teach your kids important lessons they’ll use throughout their lives.
Keep reading to learn why pets and kids is a win-win combination for any family.
Children and Pets: Lessons They’ll Learn
Even very young children can learn lessons about honesty, patience, and love. Let’s look at some ways that caring for pets can teach these important skills.
Before you introduce any pet into your home, make sure everyone is on-board with the idea. You’ll want to assign age-appropriate tasks to your kids, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with too many responsibilities.
Younger kids could help you brush the dog or alert you if the cat’s food or water bowl needs to be refilled. Older kids could take on additional responsibilities from walking the dog after school to learning about bearded dragon care.
With each new responsibility and skill, your kids will feel more valuable and their self-esteem will grow.
2. Healthy Routines
Pets are creatures of habit, so this is a great way to introduce the idea of healthy routines to your children.
They’ll quickly learn that the pet needs to be fed and/or walked at certain times of the day. They’ll also see the benefits of grooming, bathing, nail clipping, and vet checkups.
As a parent, you can use these opportunities to stress the importance of healthy routines (like brushing teeth or eating breakfast) for people too. Involve your kids in as many age-appropriate tasks as possible to make caring for pets fun and educational.
3. Kindness & Patience
Not surprisingly, 90% of parents say one of their top priorities is that their children become kind and caring adults. Teaching kids to be patient, kind, and gentle with a pet is a natural lead-in to treating people the same way.
Children might be surprised to learn how long it takes to train and care for a pet. As that bond grows, the child will learn to turn to their pet for emotional support and unconditional love.
4. How to Budget
Do your kids seem to think that money grows on trees? Adding a pet to the family is an excellent way to start teaching them what things cost and how to budget for expenses.
From paying for food and toys to veterinary care and training classes, use these opportunities to teach your kids about personal budgeting.
5. Compromise & Sacrifice
A huge part of pet responsibility involves time commitments. How would your child feel about waking up early to feed the cat or skipping their favorite TV show to walk the dog?
Little by little, these daily sacrifices teach your kids how to compromise and how to set priorities. They’ll continue using these skills throughout their adult lives.
What Will Your Kids Learn While Caring For Pets?
We all want our kids to grow into responsible, kind, and capable adults.
Caring for pets is a wonderful way to teach these skills—and have plenty of fun at the same time!
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