If as new parents you plan to buy lots and lots of toys for your little one, pause a bit and consider this fact: kids prefer actual, real animals to toys! So if you’re thinking of something cuddly for your child, make it a real live, furry friend.
Real animals better than toys for kids
A recent study examined kids’ preferences for objects to play with. It was found that even kids as young as 11 months of age showed marked preference for real, live animals over inanimate toys. Even when the animals were supposedly scary creatures like snakes and spiders, kids still went for them in preference of toys.
Researchers found that the quality of play was also better when the children interacted with animals.
When it was animals that the children played with, they gestured more, expressed more interest and asked more questions.
This research reinforces the belief that it is good for kids to be around animals. Kids benefit in many different ways and the animals could even prove to be an instrument for a child’s education.
How animals can benefit children
Having pets is good for kids in many different ways. Having pets around could help boost social and cognitive development of a child. Having a pet can also teach a child about sympathy and something about responsibility as well.
Even a young toddler can imbibe the sense of nurturing when there is a pet around to look after. The toddler learns about being kind and gentle, about compassion and love for other beings.
Then there is the fact that animals can help to boost a child’s self-esteem.
A responsive and loving pet that lavishes love and attention on a child can be a great boost for the child’s sense of self. And animals are stress busters not only for adults but for kids as well.
Even academic performance may improve with a pet around. At least one study found that reading aloud to an animal rather than a person (who will be more likely to offer criticism or direction) improves a child’s confidence in reading.
In simple practical terms, having a pet around will help the child because he or she always has a companion to play with. The child is never alone or bored, with a favorite pet around.
Another benefit of having pet around is the fact that kids who grow up around animals are less likely to have allergies.