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Do you think that having a pet might make your kids sick, keep them from doing their chores or make them neglect their school work? Think again. Pets can actually be good for kids, and here's how
In most families, at some point, the little ones come along and ask if they can have a pet. While a few parents have no problem adding a furry four-legged friend to the family, others are hesitant due to many misconceptions they may have.
Parents can think of many reasons to say no to the idea of having a pet - pets are too messy, kids might be allergic to them, having a pet might be too much of a distraction from school and other activities, to name a few.
It can be quite surprising that there is actually a lot of scientific evidence showing pets can have a very positive influence on children. Here are some common myths put forth about pets, along with the facts that prove them otherwise.
Fact: Having pets at home when your child is very young can in fact be a big boost to his immune system. According to research published in the Journal of Pediatrics, a study was conducted by following children during their first year of life. Those kids who had dogs or cats as pets during that time were found to have 31 percent lesser respiratory illnesses and 44 percent fewer ear infections.
Fact: While some parents may think their kids might spend more time with their pets than with their friends, research has shown pets help kids establish friendships and build self-confidence. According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, having pets at home helped kids build self-esteem and be more comfortable in establishing friendships. The biggest reason for this is thought to be that the unconditional love pets provide helps kids gain more confidence.
Fact: On the contrary, taking care of pets will actually make children more responsible. Since they learn to properly take care of a pet by feeding them, grooming them, and cleaning up after them on a regular schedule, the responsibility carries over into their own lives. Suddenly, kids are making their bed, cleaning their room, taking out the trash, and mowing the yard without being reminded over and over.
Fact: If you're worried that your kid will neglect her studies while taking care of her dog or cat, the truth is you've got nothing to worry about. According to an article published in The Telegraph, researchers at the University of Bristol found that cat owners possessed more college degrees than others. This is thought to coincide with the reasoning that by spending a lot of time trying to outwit cats and play interesting games with them, the child's brain gets a big boost, thanks to their feline friends.
Pets also seem to help kids become better readers. For kids who don't find reading easy, having pets around seems to help. According to researchers, since pets are non-judgmental and can stay patient with kids, children become more relaxed and find learning to read far less threatening than they imagined.
Fact: By caring for pets and learning how much love and affection they need to give their pets to help them feel good, children start to learn how important it is to think about the feelings of humans as well. According to the American Humane Society, caring for pets makes kids aware at an early age, how important it is to be kind to both two-legged and four-legged creatures. Treating their pets with love and respect results in a virtually unbreakable bond, and they carry this behavior over to their relationships with humans. This helps them when they play sports or participate in other team activities.
So, whether it is teaching kids how it feels to walk in others' shoes, helping them become better students in school, or keeping them healthy and happy in numerous ways, it's clear that adding a furry friend to your family will pay off handsomely.
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