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The Benefits of Owning a Family Pet

March 31, 2014

OAK CREEK, Wis. -- Pets of all shapes and sizes can add a great deal of joy to a family, but is your family ready to add another a member?
According to Beverly Anderson, executive director at Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Greenfield, Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “There are many benefits to having a family pet. Large or small, fury or scaled, pets definitely change the dynamic of a family.”
Here are some benefits of having a family pet you may not have thought about:
Pets Teach Responsibility
Caring for a pet requires daily attention. They need to be fed. They need exercise. And, they need attention. Giving your children a role in caring for your pet teaches them to be responsible. It also teaches them that their actions (or lack thereof) have consequences. When a pet’s well-being is tied to their actions, children learn quickly about the importance of being reliable. They also learn what is required for another being to thrive.
Pets Provide Emotional Support and Social Development Opportunities
A fury friend will not judge children when they are having a rough day, because they have had a fight with their best friend, were afraid of a thunderstorm, or got into trouble with their parents. Rather, a pet provides emotional support no matter what the circumstance may be by cuddling up to children and providing a kind of nonverbal comfort that humans can’t.
According to Anderson, “This kind of nonjudgmental emotional support that a pet provides has been proven by research to lower stress levels in children and foster their emotional development.”
“Having a pet has also been proven to help children with their social development, because it provides children with something to talk about with other kids, adults, and new people they meet.”

Pets Help Foster Nurturing
A pet can also help children learn how to care for others, and this can have a lasting impact as they grow into adults and become parents themselves.
Anderson says “According to research, nurturing animals is especially important for boys, because caring for a pet is seen as gender neutral where things like playing with dolls, playing house, and even sometimes babysitting can be labeled as ‘girl activities.’ When it comes to pet care, both genders remain equally involved.”
Anderson adds that, “Because pets help teach all of us so many things, and we ultimately enjoy being with them, they tend to strengthen a family’s bond.”
“Owning a pet provides many opportunities for a family to spend time together. From walking your pet to grooming it or simply playing with it, pets unite us and force us to slow down and just enjoy life for a moment.”

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.
Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers free Parenting Talks and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.
The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070 or visit the agency’s website at www.ebenezerchildcare.com.

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