It's no secret that animals and babies are super cute when they play together. But can having a dog or a cat be beneficial to your child in other ways? According to The New York Times, many believe that living with a pet teaches children social interaction skills that they can then apply when communicating with humans.

For instance, since dogs and cats are usually playful and loyal, some believe they can teach young children to be friendly and empathetic. And I have to say I agree! I got my first dog when I was in middle school, but I still think I've learned a lot from him beyond the typical responsibility of "walk the dog"! So moms, if you've been avoiding getting a pet, think again! Below, five things your kids can learn from their dog or cat:

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  1. Play whenever you can! Many pets, particularly dogs, seem to have boundless energy. They are always ready to run after a ball or wrestle with a squeaky toy. Kids should be just as active! Make sure they get some playtime every day--even if that just means chasing (or toddling) after your dog while you're playing fetch!
  2. Make new friends. I can't walk my dogs down the block without them inevitably seeing another pooch and making me run after them so they can sniff and bark their little hearts galore. Try to have your kids interact as much as they can too! Whether by finding a friend at the playground or arranging a playdate, letting them spend time around other kids will teach them basic social skills (like sharing!).  That friendliness could become a fixture in their personality, even in adulthood!
  3. Be loving and affectionate. Dogs and cats are always happy to see you when you get home and they are constantly showing their affection by cuddling, jumping on your lap, or even licking your face! Your kids probably shouldn't lick anyone's face…but they shouldn't be afraid to show their love with plenty of hugs and kisses!
  4. Rest! Everyone needs a good nap now and then and dogs and cats make sure to take plenty of them. Babies especially need to have some time to relax, lie down, or sleep.
  5. Take care of your loved ones. Dogs and cats are both fiercely dedicated and loyal--whether it's to their owners or their offspring. Kids can learn the value of loyalty by watching how their pets protect them and their families.

Does your family have a pet? Does your kid spend a lot of time with it?

Image via higgott/flickr

About the author

Michelle Regalado is a Staff Writer at MamásLatinas. She loves reading, travel, pop culture, and writing about anything and everything.

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