Numerous studies have shown the benefits of pet ownership for adults. It decreases depression and can even increase life span. Well, it turns out there are plenty of benefits for kids, too. Here are three of them, courtesy of Parenting Magazine:   

  • Pets help kids get better report cards. A Purdue University study showed that young children who had a pet in their classroom got better grades and had fewer behavioral problems than those who didn’t.  
  • Confidence. Dr. Robert Bierer is a child psychologist in New Mexico. His research found that people who had pets when they were younger were more confident and had higher self-esteem. He believes that having a pet during the critical “tween” years offers a child unconditional love at a time when they’re trying to fulfill everyone else’s expectations.  
  • Pets help children stay healthy. Rebecca Weil is an occupational therapist and executive director of the Animals as Intermediaries program. She says that kids who have pets to look after, look after themselves better too. They have better personal hygiene and get more exercise than non-pet owners. Of course, caring for an animal is a huge undertaking, and assuming that your kids will do all the work is a mistake. There’ll be plenty of times you’ll have to feed the cat or take the dog for a walk in the rain, but when you see how much a pet builds your child’s confidence and social skills, it’ll be worth it.