Studies may be controversial, but science increasingly suggests that animal friends can have a profound impact on child development.
It’s heart-warming to see relationships bud between animals and humans. All it takes is one sniff of the hand for a dog to become human’s best friend. But how do we develop such close relationships with animals and what is the impact of those relationships on development? According to a review of 22 studies evaluating the impact of companion animals on child development, the authors suggest that growing up with a pet can lead to greater self-esteem, cognitive development and social skills in children.
The benefits of animal companionship
Research suggests that pets reduce stress, provide support and act as social companions, making them a positive influence on developing children. Using self-reported data from the California Health Interview Survey, researchers found that kids who grow up with pets demonstrate better general health, more obedience, higher frequency of physical activity, less moodiness and fewer behavioral and learning problems.
What can you learn from your pet?
Philosophy on companion animals varies from person to person and culture to culture, but studies continue to uncover more benefits of animal-human relationships. When a dog, cat or other furry companion joins your family, you learn to show compassion to others and to take responsibility for someone else. You learn to give, care and provide a home for another, which may lead to a more emotionally-tethered, empathetic life with human and fuzzy companions. What does your pet teach you?