Some of our fondest memories of being a child are about pets ...
I remember dressing up our patient cat for hours on end, putting him in long baby doll gowns and bonnets. Pets can be extremely valuable to your children. They don’t talk back like siblings do and they don’t boss you around like adults do. Here are 10 good reasons why pets are good for kids.
1. They are there for your child unconditionally. Whether your child is in a good mood or a bad mood, that pet doesn’t care. The pet still makes itself available to be petted, carried, played with and sometimes sat on!
2. They are almost always available. With parents being so busy, sometimes children come home to a parentless environment. A pet can make it feel like the child is not coming home to an empty house. They can provide hours of healthy entertainment and companionship for your child.
3. A pet teaches responsibility. Responsibility may include feeding, bathing, medicating, preventative health care, exercising, grooming and of course, cleaning up their messes.
4. Pets have a way about them that unites the family in a common love.
5. The life long lessons your child will learn include giving and receiving unconditional love, nurturing, and honoring all other lives.
6. Pets teach children the cycles of life and death. Often the first death a child experiences is the death of a pet.
7. Pets can be educational. The selection of a pet should include research into the personality, management, and the requirements necessary for sustaining the pet. Let your child assist in the investigation of the pets natural environment and diet. The library, internet, local veterinarians, and pet stores are good resources for gathering information.
8. Pets are similar in size or sometimes smaller than children. They are therefore a less threatening than looking up at adults or older siblings all day.
9. Pets are excellent for sharing at “show and tell.” Volunteering with their pet at hospitals and nursing homes is an excellent way to give back to your community.
10. Pets can provide a healthy arena for your child to learn about sportsmanship and teamwork through group organization like horse and dog shows.
For children in cities, apartments etc., popular pets now include lizards, snakes, various reptiles, birds, fish, ferrets, hedgehogs, and even frogs. Although some of these may not give the tail wagging, warm fuzzy love, they do provide hours of fun and enjoyment.
Knowing common problems specific for that species may help decide if that pet will be suited for your household. Too many times people purchase pets based on emotional whims without fully understanding the responsibility associated with that particular pet.
Taking the time to properly research your pet to be sure it fits into both your family’s physical life style and economic situation is important. An improper selection could be disastrous. Certain species are high medical maintenance. For example, Sharpei dogs have a high incidence of eye, ear, and skin disease. Iguanas often suffer from metabolic bone disease as a result of inadequate sunlight and calcium. A little research can save your family money and heartaches.
Pets teach our children valuable life long lessons. They provide additional love, protection, and enjoyment for our children. Some of their hilarious antics are well worth taping and sending into the world most funniest video program.
Marlene Siegel is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. She has a private practice in Lutz, Florida limited to small animals/exotics. And in addition, she is a certified instructor of the “Redirecting Children’s Behavior” parenting course.
Kathryn Kvols is the author of the best selling book and popular parenting course, “Redirecting Children’s Behavior.” She is an international speaker and the president of the International Network for Children and Families. She can be reached at 877-375-6498 or you can view other helpful articles at the website www.incaf.com