How children benefit?
Having a pet can help a child learn many things in life. Children with pets can be more confident and responsible as the understanding of, having a pet that depends on them, will teach a child many things. Children learn compassion and empathy as they try to understand a pet’s feelings and learn to be gentle. Children with pets are more self-confident, active, pets provide comfort during stressful times, stability, love, and affection.
How pets benefit?
Pets also benefit from having children in their lives! Children provide pets with an extra source of attention and friendship. Sometimes children can help exercise pets and make them calmer a while in the home. Sometimes even pets need some time off from the kids so to speak!
Pets can be shy or scared of loud noises or sudden movements that children often make during routine play. Not all pets enjoy being picked up as if they are toys and children are not always careful how they pick them up. Pets’ also
Have a natural instinct to protect their food from competition, and children love to play in food and water dishes, sometimes even putting their face near the food pretending to eat like a dog or cat.
How can Pets deal with unwanted attention?
Some of these above mention actions by children can be annoying, scary, or even painful. Pets can only react in a few ways to show children that something is causing them distress; bark/ meow, growl/hiss, bite, run away. Sometimes pets are even complacent and tolerate these actions. Many pets play along with children but not always. It is important to be safe and aware of your pets potential reactions to your children’s actions. Often times adult animals gently guide young ones into learning proper behavior, through some of these actions such as nipping, batting, or growling, similarly they may try to do this to children to retrain or adjust their behaviors and responses. These are simply their only ways of saying no thank you, or stop that hurts.
What can we do?
It is important to monitor pet and child interactions carefully. It is our job as parents to protect our children and that includes our fur-kids too. Helping to teach your children to respect the pet, understand its space, and heed their warnings will help the whole family function better as a unit and reduce worry and stress in lives.