I personally believe that pets enhance the lives of our children and teach them many wonderful life lessons.  I’m not alone in this belief.  I found article after article listing the following benefits to our children of having pets in our homes:

  • Pets teach our children to be responsible.  If your child is his/her pet’s caretaker, your child will learn responsibility.  Even if you fill in the slack (and I think all parents do), make sure your child feeds the pet and spends time with the pet on a daily basis.  Animals need our love and attention just as much as we need theirs.
  • Similarly, through pet experiences, our children learn to think about others besides themselves. They know what it’s like to be bored–they want their hamster to have play time.
  • Pets teach our children about unconditional love.  Your son’s dog will love him when his friends are mean, when he loses the big game,  or when he has a blemish on his face.
  • Pets provide a comfort/solace to our children when they are unhappy or experiencing stressful situations.  When was the last time your daughter’s cat was too busy to cuddle with her?  Or too busy to listen to her when she rambled?
  • Pets teach our children about life experiences and life stages.  Through pets, our children can learn about birth, illness, death, how living creatures respond to mean behavior and how they respond to kindness.
  • Pets are good for our health.  Did you know that babies that have pets around them from an early age are less likely to develop asthma?  Forget that old wives tale that the cat will suck the breath out of the baby!  Cats and babies are a fine combination!

Really, pets provide pertinent learning experiences for our children and thus, they are productive members of our families.  Besides, we just love them so!

And remember–fun learning is forever learning!

Ann Simpson

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