CHILDREN AND ANIMALS

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Ask any parent, what would they want for their child — a life with cell phones, televisions, soap operas online and video games or one with nature, where they explore and lead a full and happy life?  The answer is obvious. Unfortunately, these days getting your children interested in nature is easier said than done. The good news is that the solution is an easy one. Expose your young to animals and let them care for them as well. It makes them healthy and helps build up their immune system. A study in the Journal of Paediatrics shows that children who had a dog during the first year of their life had a higher immune response, with 31 per cent fewer respiratory tract infections than those without. It also instils a sense of responsibility in them. And helps cultivate values of compassion and care for others. There’s already some evidence that spending time with animals can increase a child’s self-esteem, help teach kids how to interact socially and even promote a kid’s cognitive development.

Here are some benefits to adding a pet to your family:

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  1. Pets love you unconditionally, they give your child someone to talk to without judging them — taking away loneliness, depression or sibling rivalry.
  2. Having a pet can help the child overcome anger and fear without resorting to violence or bullying. A pet is a safe confidant, where child can verbally pour out his fears and his anger.
  3. Caring for a pet that is so dependent on you teaches empathy. Your child learns to read your pet’s needs: Is he hungry? Does he need to go outside? Maybe the pet is scared of the wind, rain or snow and needs to be comforted.
  4. A pet enhances confidence and responsibility. Simple tasks like filling its water bowl, and food bowls and for older kids, walking the pet — can give a sense of confidence to the child having successfully fulfilled a responsibility.
  5. A pet can help the child polish his/her social and verbal skills. A pet’s simple presence provides verbal stimulus to help your child practice talking and socialising with another being.
  6. Pets can be therapeutic. Studies have shown how pets can help lower blood pressure, speed up recovery time, and reduce stress and anxiety.
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