In our last post, we wrote about benefits that pets bring to our mental health and in today’s post, we are going to continue down that path. In this case, we will focus on the emotional bond between children and pets and the positive aspects of their coexistence.
From an emotional and psychological point of view
It has been proven that pets bring multiple benefits to children and vice versa. People who have had contact with companion animals during their childhood learn values such as compassion, unconditional love, respect, responsibility, fidelity or empathy, all essential skills for their personal growth.
But we also know that pets contribute to the educational and social development of the little ones. They reinforce the child’s personality, give them security and force them to assume responsibilities, promote their social integration, increase their self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety, help combat loneliness due to the loss of a loved one …
In addition, they stimulate creativity, the feeling of attachment, companionship, care, love for animals … Children who grow up with animals at home tend to be more outgoing and sociable, more supportive and attentive to others and stronger emotionally and comprehensive.
Some experts point out that, after parents, the affective bond that is created between a child or adolescent and their pet is vital in their emotional development.
From the physical point of view
Animals not only favor the child on the inside, but they also do it on the outside by helping to follow a healthy life by encouraging them to exercise regularly, (walking, playing and interacting), which means a better quality of life.
Precautions when children and pets coexist
Although kids and pets usually live together without any problem, there should be some basic precautions to avoid possible issues.
The first thing to keep in mind is that animals are never aggressive just for the sake of it, but it is possible that some situations may make them feel uncomfortable or discomfort. In that case, they will always give prior notices; dogs place their tails between their legs and bow their ears, and cats snort or curl up.
That is why the first rule is to always be alert and not leave the child and the animal alone until they both know how to interact correctly with each other. The task of adults is to educate both the child and the animal so that they know how to act and respect the other’s space.
It is important to explain to the little one that the animal is not a toy, that it is different from us and therefore, it will not always be willing to play and needs its space. At the same time, we must bear in mind that the pet is not a human being, so we must set limits and educate it without trying to humanize it.
Finally, it is important to monitor the animal’s health by taking it to the vet at least once a year to ensure its well-being and that of the whole family.
For all the aforementioned, it is proven that having a pet is the best thing you can do for your sake and for theirs!