A brand new survey commissioned by The Baby Show has shown the importance of that special relationship between children and their pets.
Our daughter has grown up with a dog in the house, as did I, and when we sadly lost Ella last year, we only managed a few months before we felt we had to get another four-legged friend. Once a dog-owner, always a dog-owner I guess.
The survey revealed that nearly half (47%) of new parents today have pets at home in the first three years of their child’s life, while 83% of parents believe that having a pet is beneficial for their child’s development.
The survey also reports why parents think having a pet has a positive impact on young children with 60% saying it is good for them to interact with animals from a young age and almost a third (29%) believing it teaches them responsibility whilst 1 in 10 say it improves their social skills.
Dogs were crowned king of the pets, beating cats, rabbits and fish as the nation’s favourite animal to have with young children:
- Dog (48%)
- Cat (30%)
- Rabbit (7%)
- Fish (6%)
- Guinea Pig (4%)
- Hamster, Gerbil, Mouse or Rat (3%)
- Bird (2%)
Sarah Beeson MBE, expert speaker at The Baby Show and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family, says "it's no surprise that such a high number of new parents have pets. We often practice our caring skills on our beloved animals before we embark on parenthood.
"It's always better to be on the safe side when setting boundaries for the relationship between your child and your pet but it's a great opportunity for your little one to learn. The experience of pet ownership shows us how to be loving and respectful, and can give children a little bit of supervised responsibility. The relationship your toddler has with your pet often starts long before they make friends at school or nursery; they really are part of the family."
Participants described how their children and toddlers often confided in their pets and this helped them to build social skills and companionship. Billy is a best friend to Danny Wong's child Laila (pictured), he says: "they love each other's company - we often find them under the dining table playing together!"
Families agreed that having a pet is the perfect way to help them prepare for interaction with other children. Excercise with their pet was also a beneficial way to keep fit and talk through any issues the child may be having.
I couldn't agree more. The positives of having a pet in the home are fabulous, and we really wouldn't be without one.
The Baby Show, with MadeForMums, is set to return to the NEC in Birmingham from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th May and they are offering a pair of tickets for one lucky reader. The ultimate pregnancy and parenting shopping event for new and expectant parents, it will be home to over 200 exhibitors, showcasing the very best baby and infant essentials.
For your chance to win a pair of tickets, please complete the rafflecopter below. One lucky winner will receive an electronic code to download free tickets which can be used on any of the three dates. Giveaway closes on Monday 9th May 2016 at midnight. Open to UK entrants only.