A Pet Can Provide Your Child A Number Of Benefits, Just Like Rica Peralejo And Her ‘Three Boys’
Smart Parenting Editor-at-Large Rica Peralejo surprised her two sons, Philip and Manu, that there was a new member of the family–a golden retriever! In a recent vlog, she shared how she prepared to surprise them.
For the past two years, her boys have been bugging her to get a pet and this year, they finally decided to get one.
Rica prepared herself mentally, researching on the basic care for a new puppy. Philip and Manu didn’t know they would be welcoming a dog, and the reactions on their faces when they saw Waffle, their golden retriever, is priceless.
The vlog showed their first days as a family with their newest member, learning their way around a dog, and almost struggling.
“I almost gave up,” Rica said. “It feels like taking care of a newborn baby, waking up, the mess,” she then learned that all their experiences are normal and they just needed to learn and adjust.
This was when she realized she needed the help of her two sons to make everything work.
“I said to Philip, you need to help me if you want to keep the dog,” and narrated that her eldest son, even though a little bit uncomfortable with dog poop, helped her in cleaning up. Manu also helped in feeding Waffle, their new pet.
RELATED: Having a Pet in Your Home May Be One of Your Best Parenting Decisions
How your child benefits from having a pet
Owning a pet is almost like having another baby and experts have cited lots of benefits of pets provide children.
According to Chicago-based parenting resource Pathways.org, these are the benefits of having a pet for a child’s development:
Having a positive relationship with pets can help children develop their confidence and self-esteem. It feels like having a reliable friend who’s always there for you. It also helps them further realize a sense of responsibility–they need to clean up after the dog’s poop or urine, they need to fill up their food and water, they need to walk the dog outside, they need to wash the dog.
It’s also a great bonding for the family–walking the dog outside, even doing the chores together, and also a topic of conversation during meal times.
Pets can also teach kids about some important life lessons and how to deal with them–birth, health and sickness, getting older and eventually, death. Rica and her family even went to the vet and pedia on the same day, making the kids realize that pets are also living creatures that get sick like them.
2. Motor and Play
As seen in Rica’s vlog upon Waffle’s arrival at their house, Manu immediately played with their new family member, running around and playing hide and seek. His laugh while running around is contagious.
The study says that playing with pets can help kids practice unstructured play and encourage them to release lots of energy. All the walking, running, and jumping around, will finally have a happy audience–the pet.
Since pets are considered a new family member, children will be ‘forced’ to talk to them. Even small kids will learn how to communicate to them, either verbal or non-verbal. “Sit”, “You need to eat”, “Come here”, are a few instructions usually given to pets, and kids will eventually learn to say these things.
Studies suggest that older kids can also practice reading to their pets, too.
Rica shared that her eldest son, Phillip is a bit uncomfortable with dog poop. He thinks it’s dirty and was hesitant to clean up, but as she said, he overcame this because he ultimately wanted to keep the dog.
Pets provide a lot of new sensory experience for the kids–from touching their fur, to petting them, to watching how they play and balance, up to cleaning up their poop. It’s a great way to introduce these things to a child.
5. Executive Function
As the Bonifacios shared, they met a few struggles during their first days with Waffle. In the long run, these struggles will also pose questions to the child’s mind to solve, “What will I do if my dog doesn’t want to walk outside?”, “Why doesn’t my dog do his thing on his pee pad?”, “Why did my dog bite my slippers?”
Having pets is a great experience and nothing beats the wagging of tails everytime pets see you. If you decide to get a pet for your kids, share with us your stories over at Smart Parenting Village!