The human-animal bond is indeed a special bond worth exploring. At any age, children can benefit from the mutual nurturing relationship between themselves and a pet. Whether it’s in the classroom or the family home, the responsibilities of caring for another living creature can foster healthy relationship habits for children.
A few more details on the many ways pets can help establish positive routines:
- Therapeutic Presence
The safety and comfort derived from a pet can lessen a child’s stress and anxiety while bolstering a sense of security. Pets are great therapy animals that can aid in the healing process after experiencing trauma or grief. They also can provide a safe outlet for sharing feelings.
- Non-Judgmental Reading Practice
Another way animals can help foster good practices is by being a nonjudgmental audience. There are many non-profits dedicated to providing service animals to classroom or extracurricular groups that bring animals in as reading companions. They bring a sense of security and lower the risk of embarrassment and shame many children feel when learning something new. The classroom guinea pig, bearded dragon or bunny can fulfill the same role every day.
- Teaching Responsibility
For all children, pets are an excellent way to instill life skills like responsibility, compassion, and caring within a community. Since pets require daily care, they can be a great tool to teach kids how to participate together and to share duties like feeding, cleaning cages or tanks, or monitoring the animal’s health.
- Physical Education
Animals are a great way to get kids outside to play. Since pets need constant interaction, they can be an excellent catalyst to promote physical activities and in turn aid the development of the brain and body.
Other aspects of nurturing that stem from child/pet relationships include lessons about life like birth, illness, reproduction, and death as well as building a knowledgeable connection to nature and respect for the care that living things need.
The positive benefits of sharing life’s moments with a caring animal are priceless in terms of the memories made between a child and their pet.