Giving your kids a pet when they are little would make them aware of the obligation they should have towards the “life” of the pet. The kid will take on somewhat of a parent’s role upon themselves, and take care of their pet pooch, cat, rabbit, hamster or some other animal. This advantages the child particularly when it comes to Emotional Intelligence (EQ). This implies that the kids who have pets do well in their early academics.

An individual’s intelligence level can’t be improved through academics. It must be improved with training using real-life events. Pets can really help the child develop EQ, which will, in the end, advance their Emotional Intelligence.

These are a portion of the EQ skills that are created by kids who own pets.

1. Compassion

Researchers Nienke Edenburg and Ben Baarda did research of the scientific literature in The Waltham Book of Human-Animal Interaction.

“If there are pets in the house, parents and children frequently share in taking care of the pet, which suggests that youngsters learn at an early age how to care for and nurture a dependent animal,” they wrote.

If a child as small as a 3-year-old feeds and cares for a pet, it helps build an understanding about life outside themselves. Stroking the animal gently and nicely will stimulate their obligation and care towards life. As they grow older, they can be allowed to walk the dog or play with it in the yard. Then, they can start cleaning out the litter box and feed their bunnies with veggie scraps from their own dinner plate.

Studies show that 3 to 6-year-olds with pets had more empathy towards other animals and human beings. Simply having a pet in the classroom made the fourth-graders more compassionate.

2. Self-esteem

Once a child is assigned a task like filling the dog’s water bowl, it gives a sense of accomplishment and helps him feel independent and competent. If your child seems to have very low self-esteem:

“[A researcher] found that children’s self-esteem scores increased significantly over a nine-month period of keeping pets in their school classroom. In particular, it was children with originally low self-esteem scores who showed the greatest improvements,” writes Endenburg and Baarda.

3. Cognitive development

Getting a kid a pet will also have communication benefits, building up their verbal development because the kids will play with them, talk to them, and even read to them.

“Pet ownership might facilitate language acquisition and enhance verbal skills in children. This would occur as a result of the pet functioning both as a patient recipient of the young child’s babble and as an attractive verbal stimulus, eliciting communication from the child in the form of praise, orders, encouragement, and punishment.”


4. Stress reduction

Did you know that a majority of children, when asked who they would go to with a problem, mentioned their pets? This means that for many kids, animals give emotional support and mitigate any negative emotions. The emotional aid given by pets has more influence compared to the emotional support given by humans. For some reason, pets make us feel accepted while humans tend to judge and criticize.

Endenburg and Baarda write, “Animals are great listeners and are non-judgmental — if a kid does badly on a test or angers their parents, an animal will still provide loving support”.

5. Understanding the cycle of life

It has always been a difficult task for parents to teach children what death is and how to cope with it. But when they have pets, and by living with them, it gets easier for both the parties to understand the basic facts of life. The child goes through painful experiences due to the death of their loving pet but it will help the children to cope with death throughout their lives. But, as parents, it’s important that you be by their side, and talk to them about their feelings and sadness. And also, it’s very important to open up and share your own sorrowful experiences associated with death.

“… the way in which their parents and others near to them deal with the situation will have an influence on how children cope with death in general throughout their lives. It is important for parents to discuss their feelings of sadness openly and to share the associated feelings with the child. Parents have to show that it is all right to have such feelings. Learning to cope with sad feelings, for instance when a pet dies or is euthanized, is important and parents have to help their children with it,” write Endenburg and Baarda.

This can also lead to an age-appropriate way to begin the discussion about sex. However, these positive aspects to having a pet differ according to the structure of the family, the number of siblings, the other parental adults around, and the genetic tendencies. Anyway, mostly it’s the youngest of the group who becomes more pet-oriented. Not only kids, but also adults who need social support and help with stress can receive the same benefits from pets.

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