Children have a fascination and special connection with animals, whether at the local zoo or with a much-loved family pet, seeing your child interact with animals can be an incredibly touching experience. But why is it that children love animals so much? And what can having a pet do for your child?
It's likely we can all agree that the memories of our childhood pets are something that have always stayed with us, and continue to make us smile well into our adult years. Providing your child with the opportunity to build these memories for themselves is an incredibly special gift, and will guarantee that they receive unconditional, constant affection and loyalty in a way that no person can give! Younger children will experiment with new sounds and movement by imitating family pets and other animals whilst learning to be gentle and caring. Whereas slightly older children have an innate sense to want to nurture things that are small and vulnerable, and we can encourage this through allowing them time to interact with animals.
A new pet quickly becomes a member of the family, and is a great way to teach your child about important social skills they will need to use when interacting with peers and siblings. Children quickly learn that animals need care to survive, and that by treating them with affection they are loved in return. This can be a useful tool when thinking of bringing another baby into the family, or when looking to improve relationships between siblings who will have to share in the care-giving role for a family pet.
If you've decided to take the plunge and buy a furry friend for your house, go for something harmless and easy to play with – such as a rabbit, hamster or guinea-pig. As tempting as it is to get a dog or a cat, this may not be the best choice if looking to teach your child about responsibility and avoid any potential hazards.
If you would prefer to keep animals away from the house, take your child to a local farm, zoo or woodland area to see what animals you can find; even a walk through the garden is likely to present you with a bird and some insects! Time spent outdoors and surrounded by nature really helps children to thrive, and it goes without saying that searching for or visiting an animal sanctuary is the perfect opportunity to get outside with your family, where children can watch in awe as they discover baby birds in a nest, see horses running through a field and watch ducks swimming on a pond. The animal kingdom is full of opportunities for our children to learn more about the world around them, and provide them with a lifelong love of nature.
Coming from a pet mama, I can tell you, kiddos, furry friends, Life’s never looked better before…
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