When we decided to let a fur ball roll in our house, we were not sure if we were doing the right thing for our kids. We just knew we were following our hearts and were loaded with conviction. We believe children learn much more about love, life and science when they experience things than what they learn when they sit in their classrooms. We never wanted our daughters to stay indoors to avoid the sun tan and keep the clothes from getting dirty. They’d rather play in the mud, til the soil and water the plants than sit on the couch surfing through the tablets- was pretty much our idea behind. Add to this a jumping four legged and the fun doubles up! Today, I can happily say- it was indeed one of the best decisions we have made. My pet and my daughter are shadows of each other!
Here’s a list of all positives I’ve discovered along my journey. Hope this helps you in taking a plunge soon!
1. Children Learn about Love, Loyalty, Affection and staying Happy
There’s no love like that of an animal- its unconditional and divine! Yes, divine. Why do I say so? Because unlike humans, animals do not have an ego. They are just suckers of LOVE and give back much more than they get. This is a quality that most of us lack in. And this is one quality which I really really want my daughters to learn.
Also, research says that being around animals raises levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are the chemical building blocks of happy and positive feelings. Although put science aside, playing and interacting with dogs is so much fun and therapeutic that it will brighten up anyone’s day!
2. Develops Nurturing Skills in Children
Most of us these days have a single child. Even those who have two or more children, do not really depend on the elder children to look after the younger one. We are living in metros, mostly in nuclear set ups where kids don’t even meet their cousins enough. So they do not really get an opportunity to take care or be responsible for another person like how we or our parents did. I remember when I was a kid, we used to have so many elder cousins looking after us while the parents had a good time, similarly when we were a little older, we followed suit. So how do you instill the trait of nurturing in this day and age? Bring home pets! There is no happiness which can even remotely compare to that of nurturing another being. Kids love it and unknowingly create memories to be cherished forever.
3. Comfort from their companionship
When my 4 year old returns from school or is super duper happy or is pretending to be sad, she runs to our pet and hugs him. He returns the love with some nice slobbery kisses. Since our younger one is too small, our elder one resorts to our pet whenever she needs a companion. She also loves to lie down in the grass with him and watch the red bugs (lady bug) play hide and seek.
4. Consciousness about health and well being
My daughter is very inquisitive. She loves to ask questions about why is our pet being fed certain food. Before giving him something new, she always asks us “Is this safe for him mamma?”. She loves to brush him since she knows thats good for his coat. She also helps wiping his paws once he’s back from a walk. All this helps her in other things also. Like she never gives her baby sister anything to eat without asking us. She loves to brush her hair too. She keeps her small toys away so that the pet and the baby don’t choke up. Also, she extends her nurturing skills towards our plants. When she is out in our terrace, she loves to pluck out the dried leaves, collect them in box and throw them away in the bin. She also like to water the plants.
5. Kids are more active around pets
I am guilty of handing over my phone to my daughter when I can’t give her time. But before she could become a couch potato, we got our pawsome boy home. There’s no dull moment in the house. Either she’s playing and running with him or she’s watering the plants or filling up boxes (which she especially paints) with dry leaves. She has always been an energy house, but now I feel her energy is better channelized.
6. Makes them more Responsible
Kids feel more responsible when they are made accountable for certain things. Like we ask our daughter to give our pet water when he returns from a walk. We also ask her to compulsorily water some indoor plants. So now she knows that if she does not do her work properly and on time, the pet and plants would suffer. So she never forgets.
7. Unlike popular belief- It’s healthy and safe
When we were about to take the plunge, we were warned by a lot of people about the ill effects that dogs can have on our babies, like allergies. We immediately consulted our pediatrician who confirmed that dogs are unsafe for babies. You know what we did? We changed our pediatrician! A little research on Google Baba would tell you that there is a very very small section of people who are allergic to dandelion (dog hair) or cat poop. Just like some people are allergic to nuts and gluten. So this is absolutely normal. The best way to know if you or your kids are allergic is to visit a friend who has pets. People who are allergic would start sneezing as soon as they come in that environment. In fact, research says- children who grow up around animals have a higher immunity than those who don’t.
I can go on and on but the list would never end. That’s what pets do- they enrich our lives in a way that nothing else can. That is why I firmly believe- having pets siblings are the best family additions parents can give their children (and in a way themselves too)!
And when you plan to finally take a plunge- Adopt, don’t shop! 🙂 #AdoptDontShop