Thursday 11 January 2018

Introducing A Pet To The Family: Some Of The Positive Changes

It is January, and often this is the month that some people struggle with the most. Children are heading back to nursery, pre-schools or school and finding it hard with dark mornings and even darker nights. The same for us adults, trying to function with work or home commitments when all we really want to do is snuggle up under a duvet with a nice warm cup of tea and the latest Netflix box set. It isn’t an easy month, but often it can also be a good month to embrace change. Some families look at being more active, others consider booking the next family getaway, and sometimes, families embark on a new journey entirely involving a pet.

Why would a pet be a good idea right now? It is simple, it isn’t for everyone, but the introduction of a pet can be a great thing for families, no matter what time of the year. But I do believe January is a great time for change and what better change for the family dynamic than a new addition. Which is why I thought I would share with you some of the positive changes that could be made to you and your family by introducing a new pet. Maybe it will inspire you to consider one yourself.

Your family becomes more active
Many people will have exercise or fitness in the forefront of their minds thanks to the pressures of new year’s resolutions. Often these things can be short lived, but actually getting a pet, especially of the dog variety, could see you becoming more active than ever before. A dog needs regular exercise and walking at least once a day. So having that type of responsibility and commitment means that this could be your answer to being more active, and not just you, but the whole family. A walk before school, an afternoon stroll to the park. Even walking to the nursery or school to pick your children up with the dog is not only good exercise for the pet, but good exercise for you to.

Your children can learn a sense of responsibility
Some parents are often put off getting pets because they feel that all of the pet related chores will be left for them to do. But actually, having the conversation before introducing the new pet into the mix could mean that you encourage your children to be responsible for their own actions. Owning a pet is a big responsibility and they become part of the family, so it is always going to be worth ensuring that children realise what the responsibility is all about. Feeding, exercise, going outside, and having a place to sleep are all important factors of pet ownership.

Children can learn to empathise with other living things
It can be quite clear at times that children can be a little self-centered and in their own world. There isn't anything wrong with that, but a pet can help them to feel for something other than themselves. Knowing that it takes certain care and attention to make sure a pet is healthy can help them to see when things aren’t right. Making them aware that you need to give your pet dogs or cats things like PetAction flea and tick medication to keep their coat and fur healthy. That they need to see that sometimes their actions may mean that they need to think about another living thing. Like where they play with certain toys, or what it really takes to look after something else.

It can educate and encourage a child
It’s always a good idea to encourage different ways to educate children in the home outside of their schooling, and a pet can do just that. There are times where your pet can’t communicate how it feels, and it’s up to the owners to decipher if something is wrong or what the situation may be. A child can pick up on these signals and then encourage a visit to a vet to make sure your pet is doing well. It can also educate in the importance of a healthy lifestyle. We all know that animals need space to move, dogs need regular exercise, some cats need to roam, so this could all be translated as an education in regards to the right sort of lifestyle to lead.

A dog can relieve stress and anxiety in children
Children can often feel anxious or stressed and there are studies to show that a pet can relieve some of these issues in the home. Children can feel like this for many reasons. It may be down to problems at school or with behaviour that your child seems to be struggling with their emotions, but a pet can communicate on different levels than we can and often provide a friend for life. This can also encourage children to gain confidence in social situations and within the home. Which is always going to be a good thing.

It helps you to create a schedule for your family
Many parents will agree that having a decent family schedule can keep everyone on track, and a family pet can certain add to it, there is no doubt about it. You can add walking and activity into the mix with a dog, which means that during the day you and the family are actually being more active. Feeding can also be part of the routine, and after school instead of children going straight to the technology, they may spend some time with the pets caring for them.

Finally, having a pet can add companionship for the family. Maybe if you are a stay at home parent, you may find that having a pet around can actually be great company while everyone is out of the house. If you work from home it could also be a great comfort. However, you may just like the idea of having a pet close by in the evening, when the house is all quiet from the hustle and bustle of the day. They can actually be very calming.

I hope that this has encouraged you to consider some of the positive changes a pet could bring to your home but it is important to remember that a dog is a long term commitment and responsibility. 

* Collaborative post *  

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