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Before we get started I do need to add a little disclaimer. Obviously, if you have anyone in the home with illnesses or problems breathing then a pet is not right for you. The benefits of pets will not outweigh anyone who has a medical condition that a pet might make worse. These tips only apply to families that are healthy and able to breathe without assistance or inhalers.
Now that I have cleared that up let’s talk about the joys of having a pet. Many of us have fond memories of childhood pets and even some in our adults years. Pets are often there when we need a cuddle or someone to play with. But once we become parents we worry if they are right for our little children.
It is only natural for parents to wonder if the benefits of having a pet outweigh any trouble it might cause. I see people get rid of their beloved pets when they have a new baby all the time. The excuse is usually that they are just too much responsibility with a new baby too.
I get it. Some people just can’t have two kids (and yes I will say that taking care of a pet is like having a child). But before you think about getting rid of yours, or not getting your child the one they have been begging for, consider the benefits of having a pet in the house.
Builds Immune System
This one should be obvious. I don’t know about you but you hear it all the time. Pets help build the immune system. Every wonder why? Well, I did and I asked my son’s pediatrician. Even our cleanest of pets bring a little of the outside with them every time they go out to potty. Their fur traps in pollen and other things that will help expose your child to the outside even when they are too young to roll around in the grass.
The more our children are exposed to these things such as dirt and pollen the more their immune system learns how to fight off anything that can cause them to get sick. In the early stages of life, this is a healthy way to expose our children to small doses of bacteria so it won’t be harmful to them later in life.
This one all depends on the parents. I personally don’t think my pet is teaching my son any responsibility, but I also don’t make him take care of them. If you allow your child to do things like feed and bathe your pet, it will teach them how to be responsible for something other than themselves. Other things you have them do is bathe them and take them out to potty. Even the smallest child can do some of these.
I will say having our pets has taught our son how to be kind. We had two cats and two dogs when my son was born. I know, we already had a house full, but it helped. Now my animals have always been very calm creatures, but I was concerned when my son started crawling around. I watched him like a hawk and every time we would go to pull an ear or bite a tail (yes they do that), I would correct him. Now at three years old, I don’t have to worry about my son hurting someone else’s animals.
I believe this also taught him how to be kind to others. With me always telling him it is ugly to hit the dog or pull the cat’s tail, I feel he knows that it is also ugly to hurt others. I have never had to fuss at him for pushing down around ki or being mean. But that could be just a coincidence.
This one can be quiet sad, but it is commended knowledge that our pets won’t live forever. When the time comes for our little ones to pass on, it is a great time to teach our children about loss. Now, this is all personal performance and depends on the age of your child. Don’t worry, if you aren’t ready to cross that bridge when the time comes there is always that beloved farm all animals go to.
Having pets in the home has so many benefits it is always worth considering.