Having pets teaches kids responsibility, values

By on February 11, 2014

As we pet lovers and owners know, there are endless benefits to having animals in and around our homes. A recent article from the New Zealand Herald News and a special contributor gives us a number of things that kids can learn from pets.

Zoologist and animal behaviour expert, Sally Hibbard, is “interested in the relationship between people and their pets. She’s a fan of frogs, scared of spiders and can be seen spotting stick insects,” says the Herald News. She gives some wonderful tips to parents who love animals and want to incorporate them into their homes. Read the entire article here or take a look at a quick list of things pets can help kids learn below.

“A well cared for pet can play an important role in teaching children values such as empathy and kindness, particularly towards those individuals smaller and more vulnerable than themselves, be they animal or human. Encouraging children to participate in the care of family pets is a great way to demonstrate what responsibility means and additionally allows them to learn about the needs of animals,” Hibbard says in the article.

What exactly can pets help kids learn? Here are Hibbard’s tips for parents who want kids and pets to grow together:

Be informed and aware of your pet’s needs such as feeding, cleaning, exercise, suitable environment, quiet time, company and holiday care.

If children are involved in caring for the pet, make it part of their daily routine just like brushing their teeth.

If pet care duties are missed, be the backstop for the pet but make sure there is consequences for the child.

Set a good example yourself around pets and animals.

Don’t make light of pet loss or injury or instantly replace a pet that has passed away.

Include children in daily dog walks and other fun animal activities.

Avoid impulse buying of pets.

Supervise children around pets until you are confident they will behave appropriately around them.

There are great tips and proof that animals provide more than just companionship. Care for your pets and let your children help, too. The impact could be lifelong!


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