Pets have become a common thing in today’s households to the extent that some are being recognised as permanent members of the family. Children in these households spend most of their time with these pets and doing so brings about certain cognitive developmental benefits that would otherwise not have been gained in the absence of such pets. To some extent, these pets help to foster qualities such as empathy, intelligence and kindness in these children in the process of their interaction. This paper aims to address the influence that pets have on the cognitive development of the children that interact with them.
A household pet, such as a cat or dog can help develop certain aspects of the emotional growth of a child (Triebenbacher, 1998). These pets bring about some sense of security to children owing to their loyalty and nonjudgmental attributes that aid in developing trust and empathy in the children. The presence of these pets makes the children feel as though they are in the presence of a companion that they can trust which builds up the qualities of love and companionship in the children as they interact with the pets.
These pets can also help sharpen the intelligence of children. There are numerous fun activities that a parent can organise that involves their children playing with their pets that help fine-tune their ability to reason as well as motor skills. Activities such as tagging the children along for vet appointments or the purchase of pet supplies from the pet shop will help sharpen the reasoning and thinking abilities of the child and increase their desire for learning in the process.
Most importantly, household pets serve as tools for preparing children to deal with some of the harsh realities of life. By virtue of these pets being living beings, they are often exposed to natural calamities such as illnesses, injuries, miscarriages and even death. Seeing the pets undergoing such calamities helps the children to have a rough idea about the realities of life, and it helps to prepare them physically and emotionally for such inevitable circumstances in the future (Cain, 2016).
The presence of pets within a home setup also helps to teach the culture of responsibility in children. When these children are tasked with duties such as ensuring that the pets are always clean and happy, the children begin to develop a sense of responsibility. As they continue maturing, such children find it easier to take charge of their daily tasks since the culture of responsibility and independence had already been fostered in them thanks to the presence of pets in their lives.
Hence, it is accurate to conclude that children benefit immensely from having pets in their household. As long as responsibilities are well placed and articulated to the children, they stand to gain indelible lessons in the process of helping to bring up a healthy and happy pet. Thus, when such a child is compared to others who do not have pets in their household, they are found to be steps ahead in terms of cognitive development as well as life skills which are vital to their survival in life.
Cain, A. O. (2016). Pets as family members. In Pets and the family (pp. 5-10). Routledge.
Triebenbacher, S. L. (1998). Pets as transitional objects: Their role in children’s emotional development. Psychological Reports, 82(1), 191-200.