At what age to get your child a pet?
Raising a child
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At what age to get your child a pet?

Your child often mentions that he would like to have a pet? Are you wondering if this is a good idea? Or do you think it’s too early for it? In the following article, we give you the necessary information about taking a pet into a home where there is already a child. Familiarize yourself with them and make the best choice!

How does a pet affect a child?

First of all, before even trying to answer the title question, it is important to find out what kind of impact a pet really has on the development of a child. Is a dog, cat or other pet just a playmate, or is there something more behind it? Yes, there is definitely something more behind it. 

A child raised under one roof with an animal learns empathy, sensitivity to its needs, responsibility for it, and love and respect for other living beings. The animal is very often the best and most faithful friend, on whom the child can rely, with whom he feels safe, fully accepted. 

Having a pet positively affects health, reduces stress levels, heart rate and blood pressure. Stroking and cuddling him increases oxytocin levels, gives a feeling of happiness, relaxation and calm. The pet encourages the child to be active, to follow him, to move. It has been noted that this helps toddlers start crawling and walking faster.

When is the best time to expand the family with a pet? At what age should the child be?

The benefits of having a pet are invaluable, but it is important to remember that sometimes such a duo is a real explosive mix. A pet is not only pleasures, but also responsibilities. An older child should be well aware of this. So you need to make them aware and prepare them for it beforehand – an animal is not a toy! You can say that it is a long-term commitment.

Animal vs. infant

There is nothing to prevent a child from growing up with a dog or cat from birth, for example. As we have already mentioned, it can start crawling or walking faster. It also learns to respect and behave towards a pet from the beginning. It is also crucial to teach the pet how to behave towards the child. Your role, of course, is to ensure the safety of both the child and the pet – so that there is no accidental tipping, pulling or scratching.

Animal vs. several-year-old

Usually at the age of 4-7, a child consciously begins to ask about a pet. If you’ve thought about it too, first prepare your child accordingly and see if it’s a good idea. For example, start by taking care of a plant. If the child waters and cares for it regularly, it means that there is a high probability that he will also cope with the pet – to the best of his ability, of course. A preschooler won’t go out for a walk with a dog, but will already replenish water or food without a problem. Also set clear rules for dealing with the pet. While doing so, make sure that they do not hurt each other.

Animal vs. teenager

By the time a child is in his teens, he is already aware enough not to inadvertently hurt his pet. He can also do more with him and take care of him. Note, however, that if the teenager really wants to have a dog, for example, all the responsibilities cannot fall on you. It can’t be a temporary whim.

Remember that in any case, the decision to have a pet must be thoughtful and informed!

main photo: Jones

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