As a parent, you will always want what’s best for your children; that’s something that no longer needs to be said aloud. However, you might also have different sets of duties and responsibilities that you have to handle day-to-day, which takes precious time away from being with your children.
That’s a problem that most working parents face, especially if they have no choice but to leave their kids in the care of a guardian while they earn a living. And while having a guardian can be a good solution to keep the children safe from harm, they might not be enough to teach the kids valuable life lessons.
Your children’s formative years are important because this is when they’re learning how to function in the world as their own person. This is the stage of early childhood development where they learn how to differentiate right from wrong and good from bad, which means your guidance is important to their growth.
But that’s not something you can do all the time because you’re hard at work to put food on the table. A great way to fill this gap is by getting your children a pet. Before you lose your mind over the thought of having another living being to take care of, consider the benefits of having a pet inside your household.
For one, your children can learn valuable life lessons and pass the time simultaneously. They might not notice your absence that much if they’re preoccupied with a pet, which means you won’t be losing out on precious quality time. Here are three life lessons they can learn from having a pet in their care:
Duty and Responsibility
As you already know, having a pet comes with plenty of responsibilities. For instance, if you were to get a dog as a pet, you would need to provide it with food, water, and toys to play with. Of course, there would be tasks that only you can do, such as taking the dog to get shots and check-ups at the vet.
But you can pass off the other responsibilities of caring for the dog to your children. Tasks like feeding the dog or cleaning up after it can be their sole responsibility. You can also include the occasional showers and walking the dog, along with your minimal supervision. The point is that you can teach them about responsibility.
Once they’ve grown accustomed to caring for the dog, you could ease up your assistance on the day-to-day routines and allow them to take full responsibility for pet care while at home. This way, you are teaching them how to look after and care for another living being besides themselves.
Emotions and Communication
Having a pet can teach your kids about the value of communication and non-verbal cues, especially because the pet won’t be able to enunciate what they need in human words. But by learning how to read visual cues from their pet’s body language, they will be able to understand what their pet needs.
Of course, this can only happen over time, so don’t expect your children and pet to understand each other immediately. Even you can learn a thing or two about understanding unsaid feelings and emotions by having a pet in the house. This is because you can apply that when communicating with your kids.
Your children are still learning how they exist in the world, and they might not know how to communicate their emotions clearly yet, which means that you will have to read their non-verbal cues as well. By being observant towards one another’s actions, you may be able to communicate without the need for words.
Grief and Moving Forward
Pets don’t live as long as humans do, and that’s something that your children could experience if you have a pet in the house. Most parents shelter their kids from this kind of grief by making excuses to cover up a pet’s death. They could say that a pet ran away or got lost, and even going so far as to replace the animal without their kids’ knowing.
But what this does is to give the children an unrealistic idea that pets never die, which means that they don’t learn about how to process grief until they’re old enough. As a parent, you should know that it can be healthy for your children to experience this pain with your moral support. Besides, you can always consider preserve the remains of your pet to preserve its memory.
So, if ever your pet dies, consider using that as a teaching moment about how death is a natural part of life and that the only way to move on from that is by processing their grief. You can teach them that it’s normal to feel sad and lonely that something they love has passed, but it’s just the cycle of life.
The benefits of getting a pet for your kids greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Having one may look like a handful at first, but over time, you and your children might learn how to love a pet enough to consider it as a valuable member of your family.