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Ten Reasons Why Growing Up With Pets Is Good For Kids

Ten Reasons Why Growing Up With Pets Is Good For Kids

Kids love the idea of owning pets, and they don’t mind having lots of them. But the truth is that most parents don’t understand children’s attraction to pets. Kids know that they can never have a part unless their parents approve it and so they keep talking about their desire, hoping that dad and mom would grant their request someday.

If you are at this point with your kids and you are not sure about accepting the idea of housing pets because of the stress involved, we are with you in this. We want you to look beyond the time and efforts needed for caring for pets, and focus on the reasons why growing up with pets is good for your kids.

1. It teaches them responsibility

Kids with pets have to take care of the animals the best way they can. They would most likely be responsible for cleaning the pet’s house depending on their age. And they would also make sure that the pet is properly fed and never lacks drinking water.

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For example, kids that have dogs like boxers would have to do the necessary research to know the best dog food for boxers because such breeds would not eat just any type of dog food. All these activities teach kids to take up responsibility. And after an extended period of living with pets, they would have mastered the act of being responsible.

2. It builds their self-confidence

To kids, their pets are like humans. So, they try to relate with the pet as they would with their age mates. They talk to the animals, play with them, cuddle with them and even get angry with them. All these displays of their innermost feelings to their pets without the fear of being judged would play a significant role in boosting their self-confidence.

3. It teaches the act of sharing

One of the ways by which kids bond with their pets is by sharing things with them. Kids share food, drink, thought, and ideas with their pets. They look for those special moments of giving things to their pets. And the plus side is that the pets never have to ask for it. So, kids learn to share things with other people based on their discretion.

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4. It helps to form healthy habits

Children with pets would have the opportunity to move around the neighborhood often. For example, kids with dogs would have to take them for walks, and in the process, they run also. Running and walking would keep a child physically fit, and they would never forget the habits when they’re older.

Another instance is the food for dogs. In the US, dog owners are encouraged to give dogs all natural pet treats to keep them healthy. Of course, kids who have dogs that always snack on healthy treats would be curious to know why healthy eating is important. And once the children know the value of healthy foods, they would incorporate it into their lifestyle too.

5. It improves health

According to research, kids with pets are super healthy. They have a high-resistant immune system that wards off diseases naturally. So, their health improves, and they hardly have hospital visits except on rare occasion.

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6. It boosts love between siblings

One of the primary purposes of having pets is because they are good playmates. And with kids, they get to play more. So, siblings that have pets would usually want to play with it. And since just one person cannot claim possession of the pets, the siblings would learn to play together and stay happy. Siblings with pets have something that would distract them from constant fighting and arguments which children engage in often.

7. It reduces the risk of developing asthma

According to research, kids with pets are not likely to develop asthma. No one is sure about how this works yet, but speculations say that constant exposure to animal furs strengthens the lungs of kids and keeps the air passage cleared.

8. It improves reading skills

Little kids that are just learning to read often dislike the constant correction from adults whenever they are reading. And because of that, they could stop putting much effort in learning how to read perfectly. However, it is a different scenario for kids that have pets. In their pets, they would find the suitable reading buddy; a great listener that would not correct them when they make mistakes. As such, they would read out loud to their pets without feeling ashamed. And when they are consistent with it, they get better at reading.

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9. It reduces loneliness

Pets are great companions for kids. They play together and share meal times. In addition to that, children talk to their pets, and they have the imagination that they are talked back to. And this makes kids with pets feel less lonely. Since they know that they have a constant friend in their pet, as they would never get bored of playing with them. Such kid would rarely feel lonely.

10. It curbs anxiety

Kids have stress challenges too. Sometimes, they are stressed in school. And the anxiety may also occur due to a lack of quality sleep. However, kids get to talk to their pets concerning the anxiety and what they think is responsible for the way they are feeling. Children unburden to their pets and thus, feeling better within a short while.

Featured photo credit: Leah Kelley via pexels.com

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Zuhair Sharif

Digital Marketer

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Published on February 11, 2021

3 Positive Discipline Strategies That Are Best For Your Child

3 Positive Discipline Strategies That Are Best For Your Child

I’m old enough to remember how the cane at school was used for punishment. My dad is old enough to think that banning corporal punishment in schools resulted in today’s poorly disciplined youth. With all of this as my early experiences, there was a time when I would have been better assigned to write about how to negatively discipline your child.

What changed? Thankfully, my wife showed me different approaches for discipline that were very positive. Plus, I was open to learning.

What has not changed is that kids are full of problems with impulses and emotions that flip from sad to happy, then angry in a moment. Though we’re not that different as adults with stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and stimulants such as sugar and caffeine in our diets.

Punishment as Discipline?

What this means is that we usually take the easy path when a child misbehaves and punish them. Punishment may solve an isolated problem, but it’s not really teaching the kids anything useful in the long term.

Probably it’s time for me to be clear about what I mean by punishment and discipline as these terms are often used interchangeably, but they are quite different.

Discipline VS. Punishment

Punishment is where we inflict pain or suffering on our child as a penalty. Discipline means to teach. They’re quite the opposite, but you’ll notice that teachers, parents, and coaches often confuse the two words.

So, as parents, we have to have clear goals to teach our kids. It’s a long-term plan—using strategies that will have the longest-lasting impact on our kids are the best use of our time and energy.

If you’re clear about what you want to achieve, then it becomes easier to find the best strategy. The better we are at responding when our kids misbehave or do not follow our guidance, the better the results are going to be.

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3 Positive Discipline Strategies for Your Child

Stay with me as I appreciate that a lot of people who read these blogs do not always have children with impulse control. We’ve had a lot of kids in our martial arts classes that were the complete opposite. They had concentration issues, hyperactive, and disruptive to the other children.

The easy solution is to punish their parents by removing the kids from the class or punish the child with penalties such as time outs and burpees. Yes, it was tempting to do all of this, but one of our club values is that we pull you up rather than push you down.

This means it’s a long-term gain to build trust and confidence, which is destroyed by constant punishments.

Here are the discipline strategies we used to build trust and confidence with these hyperactive kids.

1. Patience

The first positive discipline strategy is to simply be patient. The more patient you are, the more likely you are to get results. Remember I said that we need to build trust and connection. You’ll get further with this goal using patience.

As a coach, sometimes I was not the best person for this role, but we had other coaches in the club that could step in here. As a parent, you may not have this luxury, so it’s really important to recognize any improvements that you see and celebrate them.

2. Redirection

The second strategy we use is redirection. It’s important with a redirection to take “no” out of the equation. Choices are a great alternative.

Imagine a scenario where you’re in a restaurant and your kid is wailing. The hard part here is getting your child to stop screaming long enough for you to build a connection. Most parents have calming strategies and if you practice them with your child, they are more likely to be effective.

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In the first moment of calm, you can say “Your choice to scream and cry in public is not a good one. It would be best to say, Dad. What can I do to get ice-cream?” You can replace this with an appropriate option.

The challenge with being calm and redirecting is that we need to be clear-minded, focused, and really engaged at the moment. If you’re on your phone, talking with friends or family, thinking about work or the bills, you’ll miss this opportunity to discipline in a way that has long-term benefits.

3. Repair and Ground Rules

The third positive discipline strategy is to repair and use ground rules. Once you’ve given the better option and it has been taken, you have a chance to repair this behavior to lessen its occurrence to better yet, prevent it from happening again. And by setting appropriate ground rules, you can make this a long-term win by helping your child improve their behavior.

It’s these ground rules that help you correct the poor choices of your child and direct the behavior that you want to see.

Consequences Versus Ultimatums

When I was a child and being punished. My parents worked in a busy business for long hours, so their default was to go to ultimatums. “Do that again and you’re grounded for a week,” or “If I catch you doing X, you’ll go to bed without dinner”.

Looking back, this worked to a point. But the flip side is that I remembered more of the ultimatums than the happier times. I’ve learned through trial and error with my own kids that consequences are more effective while not breaking down trust.

What to Do When Ground Rules Get Broken?

It’s on the consequences that you use when the ground rules are broken.

In the martial arts class, when the hyperactive student breaks the ground rules. They would miss a turn in a game or go to the back of the line in a queue. We do not want to shame the child by isolating them. But on the flip side, there should be clear ground rules and proportionate consequences.

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Yes, there are times when we would like to exclude the student from the class, the club, and even the universe. Again, it’s here that patience is so important and probably impulse control too. With an attainable consequence, you can maintain trust and you’re more likely to get the long-term behavior that you’re looking to achieve.

Interestingly, we would occasionally hear a strategy from parents that little Kevin has been misbehaving at home with his sister or something similar. He likes martial arts training, so the parent would react by removing Kevin from the martial arts class as a punishment.

We would suggest that this would remove Kevin from an environment where he is behaving positively. Removing him from this is likely to be detrimental to the change you would like to see. He may even feel shame when he returns to the class and loses all the progress he’s made.

Alternatives to Punishment

Another option is to tell Kevin to write a letter to his sister, apologizing for his behavior, and explaining how he is going to behave in the future.

If your child is too young to write, give the apology face to face. For the apology to feel sincere, there is some value to pre-framing or practicing this between yourself and your child before they give it to the intended person.

Don’t expect them to know the ground rules or what you’re thinking! It will be clearer to your child and better received with some practice. You can practice along the lines of: “X is the behavior I did, Y is what I should have done, and Z is my promise to you for how I’m going to act in the future.” You can replace XYZ with the appropriate actions.

It does not need to be a letter or in person, it can even be a video. But there has to be an intention to repair the broken ground rule. If you try these strategies, that is become fully engaged with them and you’re still getting nowhere.

But what to do if these strategies do not work? Then there is plenty to gain by seeking the help of an expert. Chances are that something is interfering or limiting their development.

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This does not mean that your child has a neurological deficiency, although this may be the root cause. But it means that you can get an objective view and help on how to create the changes that you would like to see. Remember that using positive discipline strategies is better than mere punishment.

There are groups that you can chat with for help. Family Lives UK has the aim of ensuring that all parents have somewhere to turn before they reached a crisis point. The NSPCC also provides a useful guide to positive parenting that you can download.[1]

Bottom Line

So, there your go, the three takeaways on strategies you can use for positively disciplining your child. The first one is about you! Be patient, be present, and think about what is best for the long term. AKA, avoid ultimatums and punishment. The second is to use a redirect, then repair and repeat (ground rules) as your 3-step method of discipline.

Using these positive discipline strategies require you to be fully engaged with your child. Again, being impulsive breaks trust and you lose some of the gains you’ve both worked hard to achieve.

Lastly, consequences are better than punishment. Plus, avoid shaming, especially in public at all costs.

I hope this blog has been useful, and remember that you should be more focused on repairing bad behavior because being proactive and encouraging good behavior with rewards, fun, and positive emotions takes less effort than repairing the bad.

More Tips on How To Discipline Your Child

Featured photo credit: Leo Rivas via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] NSPCC Learning: Positive parenting

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