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4 shocking ways pets benefit your kids

Maybe it's time to give in to your kid's puppy requests

benefits of getting kids a pet

As you incorporate a pet into your family’s daily rhythm, he'll quickly wiggles his way into your hearts. But good ol' Rocky isn't just a big ball of love, he's actually teaching your kids some surprising life lessons!

1. Kids will learn responsibility
“In many ways, the pet becomes like a child because it depends on its owner for food, water, bathing and a clean, healthy environment,” says Dr. Brian Benjamin of Ohio Drive Animal Hospital in Plano, Texas. “And the child becomes like a parent because he takes on the responsibility of helping to care for the pet.”

2. Kids learn big-picture lessons
Kids learn a lot of valuable life lessons from having a pet, especially about the circle of life, from birth and illnesses to accidents and death. “Loss of a pet is always difficult,” explains Dr. Benjamin. “This can be the first time a child experiences the loss of a loved one. It can lay the groundwork and set the stage for what it means to lose a family member.”

READ MORE: Animals shown to teach children caring and compassion

3. Kids always have trusted confidant
Pets listen with no judgment, which helps kids share their feelings. And pets cuddle and provide comfort, which helps kids develop compassion and non-verbal communication skills. “I have a son who has special needs,” points out Dr. Benjamin, “and he sometimes relates to pets in the house more easily than he relates to people.”

4. Parents can get in on the tail-wagging benefits too
“People who share their houses with pets can have less overall stress because the pets act as a comforting factor,” says Dr. Benjamin. “Studies have shown that petting a purring cat can reduce your heart rate and stress level.”

Lisa Beach is a freelance writer, humorist and recovering homeschooling mom who lived to write about it. Find her online by clicking here.