Kids and Animals

Children who struggle with inner turmoil or emotional problems of one kind or another could benefit from a pet. The presence of a pet can go a long way to help reduce children’s discomfort and uneasiness.

In his thought-provoking book, ‘Why Wild Things’ psychologist Gail Nelson writes about the role of animals in children’s lives. Her research shows that when animals are present in classrooms with young children, it helps them gain control over emotional fluctuations and helps to create calmness. It is the presence of an animal – the heat from an animal’s body, the softness of its fur. All these allow for emotional relief.  What is perhaps more important is that a pet provides an opportunity to express love.

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A pet serves as both a “true friend” and a symbol which is anchored deeply in children’s minds, providing a healthy option for emotional projection.  This could also explain why animals pop up so frequently in children’s drawings and stories.

Some studies have even shown that the presence of a dog while you learn to read or play the piano helps accelerate the learning process.  This is thought to be due to the presence of an animal reducing anxiety and supporting a relaxed mind.

Of course this does not mean that everyone should rush out and buy a pet.   However, if the family wants a pet, and believe that they can give it a good home, it is worth considering.  Your child will enjoy it and learn a lot from taking responsibility for its care and welfare.

Do you have pet? What are your observations of your own child/ren’s behaviour around your pets?