The benefits of giving your child a pet are truly endless! Of course, this is not something you should just jump into and proper research on which pet will work for your needs is critical. However, there are key things that any pet can teach your child and the lifelong bond they develop is something that cannot be replaced.
If you have an older child, they have probably bugged you for some time about bringing home a new puppy, kitten, or less conventional pet. While they probably only imagine the fun times they will have together, this is also an important time to teach the responsibilities that come with owning a pet and providing for another living being. Even younger children can benefit from having a pet and tend to be healthier than their pet-free peers.
If you have been on the fence for some time about purchasing or adopting a pet, this is the perfect list for you. If you are a kid who wants a pet, but mom and dad have yet to give you one, this is the perfect list to send their way! I have comprised the ultimate list of 101 things your pet can teach your kids.
#1 – To have a healthier lifestyle
In today’s world, it can be difficult to get your kid outside and keep them active. With walks and exercise a must, pets do not give them a choice! This often leads to more active kids.
#2 – How to run
This may seem like a silly one, but having an active pet is a great way to teach your tot how to run. Plus, there is nothing cuter than seeing your toddler run around your yard with a brand-new puppy.
#3 – How to throw a ball
This goes right along with number two; kids can learn a lot physically from pets. Throwing a ball is just one of these many things.
#4 – How to jump
Like mentioned, jumping is another thing pets love to do. It is only a matter of time until your young toddler or baby pick up on this trait as well. The physical benefits of owning a pet are truly endless.
#5 – How to share
If you have an only child, sharing may not be their best quality and something they do not need to do often. Pets often require children to share their time, toys, food, and so much more!
#6 – Increased comfortability while reading
It has actually been proven that pets can improve children’s reading skills. Pets do not judge and are a safe place to practice reading a book, speaking out loud, an upcoming school speech, etc.
#7 – Practice being a caregiver
Unfortunately, girls tend to be the main group that gets to practice being a caregiver, through dolls and similar toys. However, owning a pet is a great way for any of your children to get this important practice. At the end of the day, boys need to nurture their caregiving side just as much as girls do.
#8 – Responsibility
There is so much that goes into this life lesson that your children can learn from their pet. I will further break this down into smaller lessons, but the responsibility is perhaps the biggest thing a pet can teach!
#9 – A lowered need for doctor’s visits
This may be more of a benefit than something taught, but it is still a huge thing that should be noted. Children who have pets are proven to be healthier throughout their lifetime!
#10 – A lowered chance of developing common allergies or asthma
This goes along with the previous benefit when children are around animals before the age of one they have fewer allergies and are less likely to develop asthma.
#11 – To have a little fun each day!
Younger children do not need a push to have fun, but preteens and teenagers tend to grow out of that playful age too quickly. Pets can keep you young at heart and remind you to have fun each day!
#12 – Improved impulse control
Simply put it, most pets do not tolerate a child that acts out randomly and impulse control is a must for pet owners. This is a critical lesson for toddlers and young children that pets can teach.
#13 – Improved social skills
Taking your pet on a walk can help you child talk to other pet owners, is a great ice breaker, and simply gives them an opportunity to practice their social skills
#14 – Improved self-esteem
One of the best things about pets is that they love you wholeheartedly. This can be a great self-esteem booster for children who may be struggling in this area.
#15 – A deeper bond amongst siblings
Simply put, pets create a common bond amongst siblings. I can still talk to my sister about times we had with our favorite childhood pets years ago and this is a bond I have with no one else.
#16 – A stronger bond with parents
When your child has been asking for a pet for years and you finally give them one, it can be a great time to bond. It is also a great way to start conversations, ask questions, and teach your child.
#17 – Reduced stress
#18 – Reduced loneliness
#19 – Reduced anxiety
Numbers 17, 18, and 19 all coincide, since having a pet is like having a constant friend. This is a great judgement free person that your child can turn to when feeling stressed, lonely, and anxious. In fact, pets can teach your child how to cope with these negative emotions.
#20 – An eye for aesthetics
If you have an older child, they may have a cat or dog breed that they have fallen in love with. This is the early stages of them growing their own opinions about what they love and find aesthetically pleasing.
#21 – To speak to peers
Discussing your family pet with their peers is a great starting point to many friendships. It is something that they can easily share with others and a great conversation starter.
#22 – To enjoy the quiet moments
Not every moment of every day has to be exciting when it comes to your pet. Your child can learn to appreciate the quiet, calm moments with their furry friend.
#23 – Never be afraid to get messy
Let’s face it, pets can be messy. Owning a loving pup can teach your child to enjoy the rain, dig in the mud, and never be afraid to get a little messy.
#24 – Take time to listen to others
It is easy for kids to be very self-centered, but pets can help change this. They can teach children to listen to others and care about what others need.
#25 – To live in the moment
Owning pets is a great way to teach children to enjoy each day and live in the moment. Pets make the best of what each day gives, and this is a great way to be.
#26 – Always greet those you love
There is nothing like coming home after a day away and your furry friend running to greet you. This can show your child how important it is to express love for those they care about.
#27 – Enjoy the little things in life
Pets do not care how much money you make or if they have the best toys, they find happiness in the little things. This is clearly something both children and adults should do more often.
#28 – Appreciate non-material things
This goes with the previous life lesson that pets can teach you. They are completely non-materialistic and do not care about your social status, only the amount of love you give. This is a very valuable life lesson for children.
#29 – Remain persistent when achieving your goals
Whether it be a dog digging the perfect hole to hide a bone or a cat working tirelessly to catch a pesky fly, pets can teach persistence.
#30 – Be imaginative
Pets can be the best companion for imaginative play. You may see a stiped tabby cat, but your child sees a tiger. Pets cultivate your child’s imagination.
#31 – Spend time by yourself
Pets can tire from constant attention and like to spend time alone. This is great for children to see and can even teach them to spend time alone, entertaining themselves.
#32 – Take pride in your appearance
Much of a cat’s day is spent grooming and this dedication to appearance is something your kids can pick up on. Of course, grooming and bathing any pet regularly can be very educational to children.
#33 – To practice training techniques
Practically any pet requires certain training to function properly in your home. Basic training techniques are great for children to learn and teach.
#34 – Disappointment
Training a new pet can lead to some levels of disappointment. Also, when a pet does not live up to what you had dreamed at first, it can be disappointing yet a critical part of growing up for children.
#35 – To overcome disappointments
Of course, since disappointment is a natural part of life, it is important that your children learn to overcome this and continue trying to achieve their goals.
#36 – The desire to pick up after others
This one may take a bit and may need some persuasion. However, when a child owns a pet they can be taught to pick up after their new furry friend.
#37 – Feel joy in the small victories
Nothing will replace the feeling your child gets when their new puppy sits for the first time or learns to shake. Little victories should be acknowledged and appreciated.
#38 – Comfort in daily life
As mentioned, children who own pets tend to be healthier, but cat owners have even more benefits. A cat’s purr can be extremely comforting for your child and the vibrations have been shown to lower blood pressure, promote bone strength, heal muscle injuries, and decrease dyspnea symptoms.
#39 – Financial responsibility
Though this more so focuses on older children, even younger children can learn financial responsibility from their pet. If you require them to help pay for their pet’s needs, it can be very educational.
#40 – How to save money
In addition to this financial responsibility, children can learn to save their money. If they want to bring home a new pet, have them do chores and save to pay for this pet on their own. They will learn to save and will have pride in themselves when the pet is purchased.
#41 – Overcome Fears
Clearly, you do not want your child to be afraid of your pet, but many children do have a level of hesitation and fear when it comes to animals. By adopting or buying your child their own pet, they can learn to overcome these fears and replace them with love.
#42 – Empathy for others
#43 – To accept and deal with worry
Just as humans need routine medical care and emergencies can arise, this too can happen with pets. When your child owns a pet, whether it needs routine care, a surgery, or is sick, they may have a level of fear and worry. Though this is something you want to protect your child from, learning to deal with their fears, possess empathy, and deal with worries is crucial. These are lessons they can take with them for the rest of their life.
#44 – To acknowledge the needs of others and put them before their own
Selflessness is not a common trait that children have, and they tend to be very self-centered. However, owning a pet can help your child learn more about putting the needs of their pet before their own.
#45 – To save a life
It is important to teach your child about adoption and saving a pet from a local shelter or rescue is a great learning experience. Your child or children can truly save a life.
#46 – That everyone deserves a second change
For many families, bringing in a cute new puppy or kitten is their top choice. However, when you adopt an older pet you can teach your child that everyone, even animals, deserves a second chance at life.
#47 – To say thank you
Your child will learn to appreciate their pet and what they do for them. They can learn to thank your pet for their actions and love.
#48 – To say I am sorry
When your child acts out against their pet or does not treat them as kindly as needed, saying sorry is critical. Learning to acknowledge their wrongdoings and apologize is a great life lesson.
#49 – How to clean
Cleaning up after a new pet can be a very beneficial lesson that your child can learn. Even smaller children can help pick up their pet’s cage or toys. Older children can have even more responsibilities.
#50 – When and how to be gentle
Owning a pet is a great way for toddlers to learn the concept of being gentle and treating others with care.
#51 – To respect boundaries
Most pets have their personal areas that they go to, to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. Your child will learn to respect these areas and boundaries.
#52 – To acknowledge body language
Understanding body language and when to give your pet space is a critical part of your child’s relationship with their pet. This ability to assess body language can be used in other areas of life later on.
#53 – Be happy for others
Once again, being selfish is common amongst children but owning a pet can help your child have true happiness for someone other than themselves.
#54 – Treat every living being with respect
This is a great lesson to learn early on in life and respecting your pet can teach respect for others.
#55 – How to prepare for life changes
Bringing home a new pet takes some adaptation and change, which is great for kids. This can prepare them for later changes in life as well.
#56 – Noise control
Just like impulse control, having a pet causes your child to learn more about noise control.
#57 – Worry less about impressing others
Pets are impressed by what is in your heart, not material or superficial things. Your child will learn that having a caring attitude is more important than impressing others with items.
#58 – It is ok to rely on others
Some children have trouble asking for help or relying on those around them. Pets are a great way to show children that others can be trusted and relied upon without expecting anything but kindness in return.
#59 – To help others without the promise of a reward
Of course, your kids can also learn to help others without the promise of reward. Though your pet is there for you always, your child will do things for their pet without the guarantee of reward or praise.
#60 – To keep secrets
This can be both good and bad. Your child will learn to keep secrets from taking care of your pet.
#61 – The importance of quality nutrition
Even the smallest pet can teach your child about the importance of quality nutrition. They will learn to feed your pet every day, a reasonable number of treats, and about balanced nutrition.
#62 – How to be affectionate
Some children are naturally not as affectionate as others and pets can truly help with this. In fact, many children who suffer from autism can benefit greatly from pets when it comes to affection.
#63a – To accept affection from others
Once again, pets are great for children who struggle to show and accept affection.
#63b – To unapologetically laugh out loud
Let’s face it, pets are super funny! Your pet can teach your child to laugh at even the smallest thing unapologetically.
#64 – To swim
Nothing can ease your child’s mind or give them more confidence than going on a swim with their pup.
#65 – The feeling of protection
Dogs are a great way to get literal protection for your family. If your child has had issues with feeling safe in your home, this is a great way to help them feel protected.
#66 – The feeling of safety
A variety of pets can provide your child with a feeling of safety and can offer a safe place for your child after a rough day.
#67 – Friendship
For many young children, their pet is their first true friend. This is a great way to establish this idea of friendship in your child.
#68 – To be less judgmental
One of the best things about pets is that they truly are not judgmental. Also, your child can learn that they should never judge a book by its cover, even the oldest, roughest looking pet can be a true friend.
#69 – How to play games
Pets are a great way to teach your child how to play games. Give your child and dog a ball, they will play for hours.
#70 – How to self-entertain
It can be difficult as a parent to entertain your child all day and get things done. A pet can help them self-entertain and keep themselves busy.
#71 – Regret
When you purchase a pet, there can be a level of regret. However, it is important that your child learns that the positives of owning a pet outweigh the regrets. This is an important thing to carry through life that even positive things can come with some regrets.
#72 – To make decisions
For older children that get the opportunity to choose the type, breed, sex, etc. of their pet, this can help them develop quality decision-making skills.
#73 – How to bathe an animal
#74 – How to groom an animal
#75 – To cut nails correctly
Though these things may not seem super important for a child to learn, it is important that you remember today’s children are tomorrow’s parents and adults. Mastering simple life skills at a young age can help lead to more well-rounded adults.
#76 – Increased verbal skills
Speaking to your pet, practicing training with your pet, reading to your pet, etc. can give your child an increase in verbal skills.
#77 – It is ok to miss others
An area where some children can struggle is when they have to leave their pet for vacations, school, etc. but this is also a great way to teach them to deal with separation and missing others.
#78 – To remain consistent
Pets can teach your child a level of consistency, both serving as a constant in their life and shows them the importance of being consistent in the life of another.
#79 – To develop routines
It is important in your pet’s life that they have a consistent routine, and this is something that your children can develop as well.
#80 – Nurturing skills
Since pets grow faster than humans, your child will get a chance to nurture and watch your pet grow from a young age to an adult.
#81 – To make lists
By putting your child in control of your pet’s needs, they can learn to make lists and plan ahead when going to the store or making purchases.
#82 – Accept failures
When it comes to adding a new pet to the family, there is a chance for failure. By putting your older child in charge of housebreaking and training your pet, they can learn to accept certain failures as they come.
#83 – Overcome your failures
Adding to this, when these inevitable failures happen, your child will learn to accept and overcome them. They will learn to try again and never give up easily.
#84 – To follow-through
Bringing a pet into your home is not something you can simply change your mind about, and children will learn that they must follow through with this decision, even if it is hard in the beginning.
#85 – An increase in family values
Having a pet can help increase your family values and help your children learn to value the family unit.
#86 – To go out of their comfort zone
If you have a child that is wary of animals, owning their own pet can help them branch out of their comfort zone and feel more comfortable with animals.
#87 – A basic understanding of biology/science
Pets provide your child with a basic understanding of biology and can provide a great starting point for future interests in science.
#88 – Basic understandings of reproduction
If you plan to breed your pet, your child will get an even further view on reproduction. However, if you plan to spay or neuter your pet, this can also be a good introduction to reproductive help.
#89 – To worry less about screen time
Pets are a great way to get your child outside or to spend more quality time together. They have less time to worry about tablets or phones when they have a pet to play with.
#90 – How to follow rules
Owning a pet can teach younger children to follow rules, such as how to treat the pet properly.
#91 – How to relax
Pets know how to relax and take a break, which your child can learn from. There is nothing cuter than a toddler resting with their beloved pet.
#92 – To establish personal space
Having a pet can help your child establish their personal space and respect the pet’s personal space. Your child may want to keep their new puppy or kitten out of their toys, which is a great way to establish their own space or room.
#93 – To pick up their toys
Puppies love to chew on toys, shoes, and more, which is something your child will probably pick up on once a few of their toys are destroyed. Your child will learn to pick up their items every day and put things away.
#94 – Planning ahead
When you purchase or adopt a new pet, it is a good time to teach your child about planning ahead and preparing.
#95 – How to be a teacher
There is a lot that your child can learn from their pet, but they can also learn to teach. They can learn to teach your pet new tricks and how to be patient during the process.
#96 – To do research
If you put your child in charge of choosing their pet, they may need to do some research and learn about the various animals or breeds they are considering.
#97 – To unconditionally love another being
One of the biggest things your pet can teach your child is to unconditionally love another living being.
#98 – Bereavement
Unfortunately, if you purchase a pet for your child or already own a pet, there is a good chance that the pet will pass away while your child is still relatively young. However, this is a good way to teach your child about bereavement.
#99 – To cope with the passing of a loved one
Hopefully, during your child’s younger years, they do not have to deal with the passing of a loved one, but this is something that will happen in their lifetime. By coping with the passing of a pet, it can make the eventual passing of a loved one easier to cope with.
#100 – To appreciate the time given
When losing a pet, your child will learn to appreciate the time they are given and to make each day important.
#101 – That they can unapologetically be themselves!
This is the biggest thing a pet can teach a child, and that is to be themselves! Your pet will always love your child unconditionally, no matter their appearance or personality. This is a great lesson for children to learn on being themselves.