Friday, 30 September 2011

The benefits of children having pets

Looking after an animal with the help of an adult, can be very rewarding for children

We have a rabbit as a pet, which our daughter loves to watch hop around the garden! She has had a little stroke of her, but as the rabbit was well established as our pet before our baby arrived, she doesn't sit still enough for our little girl to get quality time with her!! But, in our family there are several pets which allow her to interact with different animals. Her Nanna and Grandad have a bird and some fish, which prove to be a hit with our little one! Even today, she was helping to feed the fish (even if she tried to feed herself first!) But, someone she really loves belongs to her Great Uncle and Aunty, who are puppy walkers for guide dogs for the blind.

She first met Breck way back in April, when he was just a tiny puppy and around the same size as she was (as you can see in the picture) They do not see each other often, but there does seem to be a connection when they meet up! Today, she was crawling all over him and he didn't flinch a bit, in fact, he was quite put out that she didn't want to share his toys with her!!

It does depend on the temperament of the animal, which can effect the relationships children have with animals, especially young babies. Her Grandma has a cat, Max, who does not really approve of children. Although he lets her stroke him occasionally, he doesn't appreciate a grab of the fur (bless him, he is getting old!!) so you do have to really consider this when choosing a pet to suit your family and your child.

Having a pet can be very relaxing for a child, as it is often for an adult and great friendships can be made. If you get a puppy when your child is young, strong bonds can be made. Take my sister for example........she was a year old when we got our family dog, Callie, and they practically grew up together. Callie loved my sister to pieces, making a fuss of her big style in the mornings when she came down for breakfast and curling up with her in a corner for a sleep.

Pets also allow children to learn responsibility. Obviously, the guidance of an adult is required to ensure the animal is being cared for correctly, but the sense of ownership can be very powerful. It is a great learning curve for children to understand what the animal needs to survive and how to keep them happy and content. Even if you cannot have pets, by visiting family or friends that do and getting them involved in the care of the animal can be very rewarding for the child as well as the pet!! Make sure you research well before choosing a pet, and make sure that you will be able to look after them financially as well as emotionally. Remember, when you go on holiday, your pet cant always come with you!

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