Why Animals are Beneficial for Young Children

Pet ownership is beneficial for the whole family and young children who grow up with family pets can learn many crucial skills and develop memories they will cherish for life.

Numerous studies have proven that regular contact with pets or companion animals is physically, emotionally and psychologically beneficial to children and adults alike.

In fact, petting and playing with animals can greatly reduce stress levels and feelings of anxiety, while lowering blood pressure. Children who have grown up in a household with pets also tend to be at less risk of asthma and allergies in later life.

Children and families with pets often spend more time outdoors and exercising, too; walking dogs, feeding outdoor pets, playing in the garden with them, or even going for a ride if you have the right sort of pet!

Young children are frequently observed reading to pets, especially if they are shy, and little ones are often more confident when talking to or confiding in pets. Practising these interactions, even with an animal, is very valuable as it helps children to express themselves more effectively when they talk to their caregivers and peers.

Caring for an animal is a good way for children to learn responsibility and to respond to the needs of others with care and empathy. Sharing the responsibilities of a pet with other family members or siblings allows for teamwork, bonding and communication.

Caring for pets also helps children to learn to respect relationships, nature and the environment. But of course, it is not always practical or possible for every family to have their own household pet.

If you do not have enough time or suitable space to own a pet of your own, it is far better to explain this to your child, than to acquire a pet that cannot be properly catered for.

Thankfully, more and more well-equipped childcare centres are enjoying the benefits of having centre pets, visits from furry guests and their human handlers, and even registered travelling petting zoos!

At our Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare centres in NSW, we are big supporters of child-friendly critters, big and small. The children in our centres enjoy many animal and pet experiences, some of which include: worm farms, a pet praying mantis called Princess, many fish (Nemo, Lightening and Jay-Z to name a few), a rabbit called Flopsy, eggs that became chicks, and lots of exciting visits from Kindi Farm.

This way all children, whether they have a pet at home or not, get to experience the benefits of spending quality time with animals.

At Cherry Bridge Station when choosing and organising our centre pets and animal visits we work closely with the advice and guidelines set out by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), who are responsible for overseeing the quality standards in all Australian childcare services.

As stated in Quality Area 3, Keeping Pets and Animals in Education and Care Services, “Having a pet at your service gives children the opportunity to observe, interact and learn about animals. It can be a valuable part of a child’s education and care experience, enriching their learning about nature, ecology and relationships.”