Human and animal friendships date back for thousands of years – and for good reason. Animals have a way of making us feel better, their unconditional love and quirky personalities are proven to help decrease anxiety and promote positive wellbeing in people of all ages.
For families, there is plenty of evidence to show just how impactful having a pet can be for our mental health. But their influence on us goes beyond this, boosting every aspect of our lives from our physical health to our social interactions. If you’re considering adding a pet to your household, read on to find out just how owning an animal can benefit both you and your children.
Provide structure and routine
Children can benefit from a routine as it helps them to know what to expect in their daily schedules and feel more in control. Having a pet such as a dog that requires daily exercise can help encourage a structure in the lives of both children and their parents, but even the responsibility of caring for other animals can give a satisfying sense of pride for all family members.
Depending on your child’s age, they can help with many aspects of caring for a pet. Smaller children can help feed and clean the pet’s bowls, whilst older children can enjoy walking or cleaning out the animal themselves. By teaching children about the importance of properly looking after an animal, they learn empathy, compassion and respect.
If you’ve ever owned a pet before, you’ll be familiar with the almost magical way in which they can instantly lift our spirits and soothe our souls. For people of all ages, animals inspire good feelings, and studies show that stroking them reduces stress and elevates dopamine and serotonin levels, which make us feel relaxed and happy.
People who spend time with animals have lower blood pressure, and especially with dogs, the increased outdoor walks are massively beneficial for our wellbeing. Children largely benefit from spending time outdoors; being allowed to run, jump and use their imaginations freely alongside their furry best friend reduces anxiety and boosts creativity, and even adults benefit from the feel-good rush from getting out and about regularly.
Boost social skills
Another brilliant benefit to pets is their ability to boost social skills. Children can learn a lot about interacting with others from their pets, as well-socialized animals are accepting, confident and friendly to everyone they meet. This can help children feel more comfortable and confident in social situations, and encourage them to strike up new friendships by taking their pet’s lead.
Dog owners often chat to each other during walks, and whilst exercising yours at the park, you’re sure to find it easier to strike up conversations as people naturally smile and coo over your pet. Animals are great icebreakers, and for the whole family they can lead to new friendships and relationships with other animal loving folk.
Which pet is right for you?
Once you’ve decided to bring an animal into your family, it’s important to choose the right one for you. Different animals have varying needs, and even different breeds of the same species can bring various costs and needs. Be sure to research whichever type of pet you have your heart set on thoroughly before deciding to adopt or buy them. With such profound benefits to be found by having a pet to love and care for, the whole family is sure to benefit.
– Article and Resources Contribution by Kate Asher.
Kate is an animal lover who enjoys promoting the benefits of keeping a pet with people from all walks of life. From family pets to therapy animals, Kate shares her knowledge of the ways in which animals can improve our lives.
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