When there is a newborn on the way, the expectation is full of enthusiasm, but also of fears and questions. A common concern is about coexistence between animals and babies ? We think about all the dangers that can derive from it, without thinking about the countless benefits for the growth of the baby.
However, the success of this relationship will largely depend on our ability not to neglect the pet. If we continue to take care of his physical and emotional needs, there are all the prerequisites for one of the first and most beautiful friendships of our children to be established.
But what are the benefits of living together between animals and babies ?
Animals and babies: what are the benefits for growth?
The benefits of growing up with a pet are innumerable and parents who have the opportunity to “exploit” this situation will notice the benefits day after day. Below, we list some of the benefits that pets bring to the growth of babies.
Babies explore and study the world to get to know it, and animals are a real source of stimulation for them. Thanks to pets, the learning that comes from the first “experiences” of the world is enriched. Playing with a four-legged friend offers the baby the most varied, exciting and fun experiences.
The result is that agility is strengthened thanks to the baby’s attempts to follow, first visually and then on a motor level, his animal friend. Also, the baby will develop touch by stroking the puppy.
Affection and empathy
Animals are very sensitive towards newborns, since they perceive that they are fragile and defenseless beings, requiring delicacy and protection. On several occasions we hear of animals rescuing babies, protecting them from fatal accidents or caring for them in extreme situations. All this is not fiction: their instincts lead them to preserve the lives of children.
Babies learn to receive and give affection from animals. They learn to reciprocate the love they receive from this family member with whom they share time and space. Animals and babies learn to care for each other, to love each other, and to show affection spontaneously.
Several studies also claim that little ones who grow up with cats and dogs are more emotionally intelligent and compassionate. A study of children between the ages of three and six has shown that those who grow up with a pet are very empathetic towards animals and towards other humans.
When parents let their children participate in the care of domestic puppies, children take responsibility and strengthen their self-esteem. Caring for a pet (both indoors and out) gives children a new and important sense of responsibility, as well as increases their self-esteem.
According to Nienke Edenburg and Ben Barda, “The little ones learn at an early age to care for and feed a pet.” The resulting responsibilities stimulate feelings of security and acceptance in the smallest.
Animals strengthen the immune system, which will make children stronger in the face of disease.
A team of Finnish researchers has conducted a study published in the journal Pediatrics that shows that children under one year of age living with cats or dogs are 30% less likely to suffer from cough, rhinitis or fever. The same study found that the chances of these infants getting ear infections are reduced by 50%.
Linguistic and cognitive development
Talking to a newborn has a positive impact on their cognitive and language development. It is important to take the time to communicate with babies, to transmit affection to them through caresses and words. However, very often we neglect communication between children and animals.
When animals and babies grow together, communication between them is constant and extremely rich in benefits. The newborn will try to communicate and will find in his partner a recipient who is always willing to listen and respond. To demonstrate this, studies tell us that having a puppy at home stimulates the acquisition of language and establishes the basis of the future communication skills of the newborn.
Very young children extract information from reality by playing and interacting with animals. This in turn stimulates their cognitive development, as well as increasing their future IQ.
Animals help the child to know the world on a physical and social level, and this is because they respond to the baby’s first forms of verbal communication, but also to his bodily expressions, movements and touch.
Several studies show that children who relate to healthy animals adapt more easily, are more responsible and have a stronger immune system ”. Some say that babies and children who grow up with pets are happier.
Somehow, having developed and strengthened the previously mentioned skills improves interpersonal skills, fostering stronger and more intimate bonds.
Over time, babies find that some things change, while others remain unchanged. The family is the most solid point of reference in the life of children. And it is within the family that children identify animals. The family puppy is, in fact, a source of safety and complicity for children.
Animals, in turn, feel responsible for the care and protection of newborns. At times, this can be stressful for them, so how they experience change will depend on how we handle the situation. It is our duty to let him experience the news in the best possible way. However, once they adjust to the changes, they will discover a new family member who will love them and who they will love. Someone to play and share with.
It is not enough to want your children to grow up with an animal to adopt one
Wanting your kids to grow up with an animal isn’t a good enough reason to get one. It is necessary to be able to take on the responsibilities that derive from it, to understand the needs and rights of the animal and to be sure of being able to satisfy them. An animal requires time, dedication and also to “get your hands dirty”. For this reason, we must show ourselves responsible and consistent with our choices, because animals should not be neglected.
Puppies teach about responsibilities, emotions, a sense of responsibility and family. They teach what love is. Animals and babies understand each other, because they both communicate innocently, unconditionally and with tenderness. The privilege of growing up with one or more animals, regardless of age, is priceless. Animals certainly make us better people.