National Children and Pets Day… Sort of

It’s a day late, on the opposite side of the globe and in another hemisphere, but happy Children and Pets Day! Just because it’s a US date of minor renown doesn’t mean it can’t be celebrated by us too.

By way of celebration, let’s watch some cats failing to be acceptable photographic subjects.

Our only suggestion here is a lot of blue-tac, but anyway, back to the kids.

The Benefits

According to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, having a pet can help develop such kid’s skills such as:

  • Responsibility
  • Empathy
  • A caring attitude
  • Communication

Children with pets are shown to have “Have higher self esteem, improved social skills, and are more likely to be physically active, and less likely to be overweight or obese”.

Pet ownership, according to research, is also great for family harmony because pet-owning families “Spend a lot more time interacting”, and “Have a basis for fun activities and friendly conversation including the important topics of life.” If this doesn’t sound very convincing, consider what we discussed in our previous post – that kid’s learning is best done through experience. Safe opportunities to see the effects of good and bad behaviour are highly valuable.

The benefits aren’t just for kids – they’re for everyone, in highly important factors: “In comparison with their pet-less counterparts, pet owners:

  • Have a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Have fewer minor illnesses and complaints
  • Visit the doctor less often.” More on the RCH website.

However, as always, science has a little more to say about it.

The “it’s not that simple” part

It turns out the benefits of pets are strongly tied with the health of the child-to-pet relationship, which is learned from the family as a whole. A study on the parent-child-pet dynamic came to the following conclusions:

boy-1412857_960_720“Pets have been shown to influence human development, but whether the effect is due to the presence of a pet or to the person’s relationship with a pet is uncertain. Mothers rated their young children’s companion animal bond (relationship) and social competence on a parental questionnaire, and a researcher assessed the children’s empathy, cooperation, and intelligence during home visits. Significant correlations were noted between the children’s bonds with their companion animals and their scores on the social competency scales as well as their empathy scores. The lack of similar significant pet presence (“ownership”) correlations supports the hypothesis that the children’s relationships with their pets are more important than just the presence of one or more pets in their homes” (more on that here)

So, the take-away here is: A, It’s about time and good relations, and B, bring lots of blue-tac to every kitten-based photo-shoot.