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Goal Setting – Should you get your kids a pet?

“Mom (or dad), can we get a puppy?” We’ve all heard that one before. “I’ll take care of it!” We’ve heard that one too. Getting a new pet isn’t like making sure homework gets done. It’s a complex responsibility and a major lesson in goal setting. Goal setting is a big theme here at Kudo Banz. We are always encouraging our little ones to go out and tackle their goals, from small things like cleaning up after themselves and getting ready for bed to big goals like taking care of the family pet.

We have a family full of animal-lovers, so it was no surprise that my niece and nephews wanted their own dog from a young age. While a new puppy is a big commitment, there are plenty of good reasons why getting a pet could be a great choice for you and your family.

Dogs are a great way to get kids outside and active.
One of the best things about getting a dog is to keep your kids active and playing outside the house and off their screens. “Dogs keep kids exercising: too many kids these days would rather sit home on the couch playing video games; if your family has a dog, though, it gives your children a great excuse to get outdoors and keep them active.”(1) We are always taking our dogs on walks, running around with her in our yard and going on adventure hikes. The kids love it, and it is a great way for some well-needed family fun time away from our handheld devices or TV screens.

Use dogs to teach kids responsibility in easy steps.
Dog related chores can easily be broken up into small steps to teach kids responsibility without overwhelming them. Dogs just make chores more fun! One of the dog chores for your kids can be making sure their dog gets his or her much-needed exercise. This works as a dual purpose. The kids are learning responsibility as well as getting their own exercise! Some of the simple chores for kids with dogs can include taking their pup out for walks, feeding their dog, giving the dog water, and putting the dog’s chew toys away. You can also teach them to clean up after the dog goes potty outside, but this one might need some supervising.

Depending on the age of your kids, you might end up doing most of the work, but getting a dog can still be a great introduction for little ones on how to take care of something precious, even if it’s just tagging along with mom or dad who does the actual work.

We can’t forget our favorite part, cuddling with dogs.
Doggy cuddles is one of the best ways to spend a rainy afternoon. Your kids will love cuddling up with their pet and relaxing together on an otherwise uneventful day. Did you know cuddling with a dog can reduce stress, loneliness, and anxiety? Also, children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma (2). Dogs are awesome!

Did you know that dogs help with speech development?
If your child has a developmental delay, like late speech, a dog may help them begin to speak out. Kids will want to try to give their dog simple commands and call their name, without fear of being judged (3). Not to mention, they are sure to bust out and laugh with joy while they’re playing together.

The best part about getting a dog, is you have a dog.
Dogs are such a great companion to have around for kids and is a great additional family member. They make us happy when we are sad. Play with us, make us laugh with their funny antics and even let our little ones dress them up in their play clothes, like my niece did to her beloved rescue dog. While there is more to getting a dog than just loving them and being loved in return, the rewards more than outweigh the work.

Stay tuned for more upcoming posts on goal setting for kids.

Sources:

1. https://www.dogisgood.com/15-reasons-get-kid-dog/

2. http://www.oprah.com/relationships/10-reasons-pets-are-good-for-kids#ixzz5ROFn6wr7

3. https://childmind.org/article/animals-help-children-overcome-challenges/

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