Behavior & Environment

Teachable Moments for Children with Pets

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The bond between a child and pet is very special. Pets make our lives fuller and happier. They also create a plethora of teachable moments for kids.

1. Pets teach responsibility

Kids as young as toddlers can participate in helping to care for pets. From feeding and watering them to caring for their living spaces to helping them get their needed exercise, kids are great pet helpers. Knowing that another living thing depends on them for their basic needs is an awesome responsibility and one that makes kids feel competent, confident, and proud.

2. Pets teach social skills

Pets can’t use words to tell a child they’re scared, want to play, or need something to eat, so kids have to learn to hone in on the animal’s non-verbal cues to understand them. Kids have to learn to read the pet as an individual and respond in an appropriate way. This is a skill very similar to the one kids need to connect with other kids and adults. Thankfully, pets are more forgiving than people so they give kids a safe space to learn and practice their budding social/emotional skills.

3. Pets love us unconditionally

Whether it’s a dog, cat, parrot, or snake, pets love and accept us as we are. This is a powerful message for kids to receive. There is something healing about having a pet in their life, even if they only see that pet while in care