Adopting a family pet is a big decision, but it could help your children in numerous ways. They’ll have a buddy at home that’s always happy to see them and be by their side. They’ll also teach your kids how to be in charge and maintain their patience as they get more involved with taking care of their new pet.
If you’re wondering whether you should adopt the animal your kids have been begging for, you might finally make the leap with a little research. Check out eight reasons pets keep your kids healthy while developing their sense of independence and responsibility.
1. They Learn About Food
No matter what kind of pet you bring home, your kids will have to learn what they can and can’t eat. Safe, healthy food is always a priority for pets while you avoid feeding them anything with harmful ingredients.
When you have this conversation, it introduces the concept of how a healthy diet impacts your health. Kids will make the connection that they can grow healthier with good foods, rather than processed alternatives, which empowers them to make better choices for their diet at a younger age.
2. They Feel Safer
When your kids are trying to fall asleep in their dark rooms or pass the time alone, they may feel anxious because they don’t think they’re safe. The constant companion of a pet will make them feel safer when they’re at home, immediately decreasing potential anxiety symptoms.
Even if your children are still toddlers or preschoolers, anxiety can hurt their health. Studies have shown that anxiety damages the nervous system and even harms the heart. Pets reassure kids that everything is okay and create a safe space anywhere they go.
3. They Become Happier
It’s impossible not to smile when you see your puppy jump up to greet you or your cat weave between your legs. Pets foster happiness with everyone in their families, lowering stress levels as soon as your kids walk in the door.
Stress can cause lifelong health struggles and start when kids are young. Prolonged, continual exposure to high levels of cortisol will cause fatigue, high blood pressure, and other symptoms like:
- Slower healing periods
- Muscle weakness
- Concentration issues
Even if your kids don’t help take care of your household pet, the animal’s presence will ensure their happiness and health.
4. They Decrease Allergy Risks
Pets bring new allergens into households, but at a minimal level. It’s enough to introduce the triggers to kids and encourage their bodies to learn to fight them. Because of this, common pets like cats and dogs decrease potential allergy risks and desensitize immune systems to local allergens.
Fur coats and paws bring more dirt and pollen inside, as well as loose hairs and dandruff. These can all play a role in preventing allergy developments, but it’s still important for kids to learn to clean up after their furry best friend.
5. They Change Their Lifestyle
Although fish, hamsters, and cats don’t require daily outdoor activities, dogs benefit from regular walks. Kids can take responsibility for this and get more active while they take care of their dog.
Walking is a powerful form of exercise, especially when it happens every day. It’s an easy way for your kids to shift into an active lifestyle, which can significantly improve their health. Healthy habits and lifestyle changes decrease long-term weight gain by burning more calories and developing their muscles. It’s more challenging to get kids to exercise when there are no furry incentives walking alongside them.
6. They Lower Their Blood Pressure
Increased physical activity also lowers high blood pressure because it strengthens the heart muscle. Younger children likely don’t have this problem, but older kids who have had high-sodium diets full of processed food and sugar could be more at risk for developing blood pressure issues early. Even if your kids only run around the house to let their pets chase them, it’s better for their health than evenings spent on the couch.
7. They Absorb More Vitamin D
Most of the time, kids spend more time outside when they have an animal companion. They might bring the family bunny to an outdoor playpen or play fetch with their dog in the backyard. As they spend more time in the sun, they’ll absorb vitamin D they might not otherwise get from their diet.
Vitamin D helps kids grow by absorbing calcium more effectively, sending it to their bones and muscles. If your children are behind in their predicted growth, sunshine will provide the vitamin D they need to catch back up.
8. They Learn Impulse Control
If your child has ADHD, you may not want to get a pet because they could accidentally hurt them. Impulse control develops over years of practice, but pets can help strengthen their impulse control while kids learn crucial things like empathy and stress management. It can be a huge step forward for kids who have tried multiple management strategies without luck.
Introduce a New Routine
There are many reasons why pets keep your kids healthy, but those benefits only begin once everyone adjusts to their new routine. Establish daily roles so everyone cares for the pet, like pouring their breakfast or taking them out for a potty break. With time, your children will learn essential life skills and improve their health because the family adopted a pet.