As a parent, it is on your shoulders to teach you child a variety of life lessons, but you may be surprised how many life lessons your family pet can teach your kid too. Your child can learn many things from owning and caring for a pet. From trust and respect to responsibility and the grieving process, the following are some life lessons your household pet can teach your child.
No one can keep a better secret than Fido, and as adults, we tend to talk to our pets at times when we can’t turn to others. Your child will figure out quickly that pets make trusted companions and great confidantes who they will learn to confide in and can be the first step to children building trust in other relationships too.
From walking the dog to feeding the cat, owning a pet teaches your child responsibility. Pets require affection, feedings, exercise, and potty clean up. David Meyer, founder of Adopt-a-Pet.com, notes that feeding and caring for a pet encourages childhood responsibility. Younger kids can help with these responsibilities while older kids can learn the importance of caring for another living creature and practice being caregivers for later in life.
Owning a pet teaches a child to respect others and personal space for others as well. Children must handle animals gently, tend to their needs and not disturb their dog or cat while they are sleeping or eating.
Taking your dog for walks as a family or visiting the local dog park can be a great way to use your dog as an icebreaker as you interact with others. Pets can also help children with autism develop social skills like sharing and there have been studies that support the idea that interacting with a pet benefits many children with autism.
Health, Sickness, And Grief
Owning a pet will teach your child about the cycle of life and death. From puppy training to vet visits when your pet falls ill can all teach your child about the aging process of their animal. As a parent it can be a great opportunity to discuss topics like why is the animal going to the vet or why you have medical insurance for your pet in case your animal breaks a leg. When the time comes for you to put the family pet down, it will be a hard but necessary life lesson to teach your child about coping through the grieving process.
Your family pet not only contributes to making happy memories with you and your kids, but will also teach your children these many important life lessons along the way.