Siblings form a child’s first peer group, teaching them the relevant social skills that necessary for effective communication and expression, healthy relationship and conflict resolution. But in today’s world, where parents are stopping at one child and families are increasingly becoming nuclear, children are mostly being deprived of this primary exposure. This is where a pet can come in handy. Though they cannot replace siblings, pets can definitely teach children some social skills that could help them in their adult life.
Here is a list of things that a pet can teach single children-
Introducing a pet into the house is a big responsibility and by sharing the pet’s responsibility with the child, parents can ensure that their child learns about duties and accountability early on in life.
Tamanna Malhotra, the mother of six-year-old Samarth, said, “We got Samarth a dog almost nine months back. When we started dividing the responsibilities, he offered to fill the water bowl. He takes the duty very seriously. Even on Saturdays and Sundays, when he does not go to school, he ensures that he gets up on time to fill the dog’s water bowl. I am sure that this sense of duty will stay with him throughout his adult life.”
Solo children are used to their demands and wishes being fulfilled at the drop of a hat and have difficulty accepting that they might not be the center of the universe. “My daughter wanted everything ‘now.’ But when our dog joined the family, I noticed that she learned to wait for me to complete what I was doing for the pup and then attend to her,” shared Sara, while talking about her experience of getting a pup for her family.
Children with pets learn to recognize and be sensitive towards the feelings of others. When they are responsible for the pet, children need to understand when their pet is hungry and when it needs to go out, owing to which they automatically learn to tune in to other’s feelings. They also learn about animals and grow up properly sensitized towards their plight. They also teach others about animals and ensure that a healthy relationship is always maintained between these four-legged creatures and humans.
Having a pet at home gives children a reason to gp out more often. The pet’s need to run and socialize, train, visits to the vet, etc., keep the child on their toes and helps them to avoid prolonged screen time. Pets prove to be great playmates, confidants and reading partners for children. They help develop their child’s confidence. Further, they provide comfort to the child, which provides many psychological and physical health benefits.
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