Our family is very new to the pet game and there’s no denying it’s been a steep learning curve for us, but one thing we’ve noticed is what pet ownership is teaching our kids – and it’s all awesome!
Pets need to be fed, watered, groomed and exercised; that’s a given. Then there’s the extras – toys strewn across the house and holes dug in the garden which need to be tended to. Like any good parent willing my children to learn, I let a few of those responsibilities fall on my children’s shoulders. With pet ownership comes great responsibility, and kids learn amazingly quickly that if you leave your shoes where you take them off in the kitchen, the dog will most certainly attempt to eat them. It’s that easy.
2. Companionship, empathy and loyalty
One thing is for sure, children will always have a loyal friend in their family pet. There’s no judgement with pets, they’re always thrilled to spend time with the younger (often more exciting) humans of the family – if there’s pats and cuddles involved, they’re all ears!
3. A united family front
A family affair, kids work together to care for the family pet. There’s also camaraderie between siblings when sitting in the back seat of the car, who sits on the side with the dog’s head (constant licking and dog breath) and who gets to sit tail end.
My kids surprisingly unearthed a bank of patience with our pup. Suddenly they have an understanding that everything takes a little time. Time for pets to gain trust, learn tricks and listen to commands. You can teach an old dog new tricks (or in our case, a young, excited one), it just takes a bit of patience!
5. Physical activity
This is a biggie, if ever there was a single reason why pets are great for kids, it has to be that nothing tires kids quite like getting out into the fresh air, running, playing and mucking about in the dirt and grass with pets – just remember to stock up on the laundry detergent!