5 Best Pets for Children

Planning to bring home a pet for your child but can’t decide which one would suit your family? Read on to know more…

By Rashi Narang

5 Best Pets for Children

If you ask adults about their childhood memories, chances are that most of them will tell you stories of how growing up with a pet made their life so much lovable and memorable. And it is only natural for parents to pass on those memories and valuable learning to their child when they bring home a pet for him. Countless studies suggest how raising children around pets can promote their social, emotional, cognitive and psychological development. We take a look at some of the best pets to have around.

Social development

According to an article by Patrick J Skerrett in Harvard Health Publications this , pets help to facilitate social interactions. They also help children and adults bond over a mutual interest. Children tend to approach and interact more with a child playing with a pet. Thus, pets help in bridging the gap between a less social child and other children.

Emotional development

Pets play an important role in the emotional development of children. A Pet Health Council report states that children with pets have a higher self-esteem than those without one. Children who take care of pets and are responsible for its well-being develop a sense of empathy towards others. They also learn to how to nurture another living being.

Cognitive development

The article, ‘Can dogs teach kids to read?’ published in The Week sheds light on how dogs can actually improve children’s reading skills. Children who read aloud to a dog showed an increase in their words-per-minute reading rate compared with those who read aloud to humans. With their non-judgmental support, dogs also to help in reducing children’s stress levels.

Physical development

Children who have pets spend more time exercising, which helps to improve their motor skills. Also, children who have early contact with cats and dogs have fewer respiratory issues and ear infections, and respond better to antibiotics than other children.

How to choose a pet for the family according to living space

For those living in apartments or small homes, space is crucial and size does matter! There are many pets that would suit small living spaces such as dogs, cats, fish, birds, etc. When you decide to bring home a pet, consider the following factors: size, temperament, barking/howling habits, exercise needed, energy levels and how much the pet sheds.

5 Best Pets for Children

Dogs

Dogs are, without doubt, the most popular pets for children. The way dogs bond, and their loyal, intelligent and affectionate nature affects children in many positive ways, both physically and mentally. Having a dog as a pet assures constant companionship for the child and leads to a more active lifestyle. Interacting with dogs also raises children’s dopamine and serotonin levels, chemicals that instill positive feelings. Dogs make children so happy and playtime is added fun!

Cats

Cats are also a very popular pet among children. They adapt to indoor life easily and just need a litter tray to manage their peeing/pooing routine. So, there is not much responsibility involved in taking care of a cat, and even children can take care of their needs. Cats love to cuddle and

Fish

Keeping fishes as pets provides many mental health benefits, especially to hyperactive children. Watching fishes swim helps hyperactive children to calm down. As pets, fishes are easy to feed and take care of, so you can involve your child to look after them, thus helping her learn to be responsible.

Birds

Birds are extremely intelligent and are easier to care for than other pets. They also do not require much grooming.

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs have a sweet disposition and are less likely to bite than other rodents. They are sociable and do not mind being handled. These cuddly rodents as a first pet for children can offer companionship without much responsibility. 

The author is Founder & CEO, Heads Up For Tails.