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Pets Make Great Companions for Children

By Darrell S. Hill, Extension Graduate Assistant

Dog resting on benchThere’s nothing like having a partner to play with outside, to watch a movie with when it’s raining, or to talk to when no one else is around. Some parents may work two jobs and the only time a child sees them is at dinner time. But who keeps children company when parents are away? The answer to that question may be a pet.

What is a pet? According to Dictionary.com, “a pet is any domesticated or tamed animal that is kept as a companion and cared for affectionately.” A pet can help children gain a sense of independence and set them on the path to becoming mature and responsible adults.

The website Pet Love Shack cites three reasons why children should have a pet.

#1: Pets Help Kids to be Responsible

Children can learn how to be responsible by caring for a pet. For example, aquatic animals like fish make good pets because kids often play a bigger role in caring for them by cleaning out tanks or by feeding them. Although animals like a dog or cat enable a family to bond more, they also require greater attention and some assistance from an adult. The bottom line is that pet care can help children learn valuable lessons such as patience, responsibility, or how to be kind.

#2: Pets Instill Discipline

In caring for a pet, such as walking a dog or feeding a cat, kids learn to focus on specific tasks that are often rewarding and a break from electronic gadgets. Pets may also be less distractive from doing homework or chores. In other words, these activities teach kids discipline by becoming a part of their normal daily routine.

#3: Pets Help Kids through Life Transitions

Allowing pets to be a member of a family can help to ease some of life’s transitions. Pets can help kids adjust to new additions to the family while a parent’s attention is directed elsewhere. Pets can also help kids to understand medical issues when making routine visits to a veterinarian.

In closing, pets often play a significant role in a child’s life, especially if they are an only child and don’t have a friend or cousin to play with. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dog, a cat, a hamster, a fish, or even a turtle, pets can become members of any family. So, let your child partner up with a pet that will show them love and teach them how to be more responsible.


References

Pet Love Shack. (2002). Pets and children: A lifelong friendship.

Dictionary.com. (2013). Pet.