Guest post: You can hardly find a person who doesn’t like pets. Even the most callous heart would melt as soon as a puppy or kitten start rubbing against their legs. However, pets are more than just cute creatures you can toy with. They are known for being loyal friends, good comforters, and skillful assistants.
Furthermore, recent studies have shown that animals are a powerful factor that boosts learning and productivity in students. Whether it’s a four-legged friend at home or a classroom pet, it helps young learners to maintain interest, stay motivated, and focused.
The benefits are many. Let’s see why parents and teachers should consider getting a pet for their learners.
More Fun and Creative Learning Process
Regardless of the subject, having a pet can be a fun and interactive way of learning it. In Math, students can count the number of pet’s legs, eyes, its weight, whatnot. For English studies – find different ways to describe their new friend. While learning its anatomy, habitat, and food habits may be good for Science.
Whatever class this is, with a little creativity, teachers can find numerous ways of awakening zest for the subject in students of different ages. According to Mary Goldfish, a human and animal interaction researcher and Pro-papers blogger, “enthusiastic students pay more attention to what teachers say, and are more likely to follow their instructions.” Additionally, pet-exposed students are less prone to have their heads in the clouds, so they tend to ask relevant questions and be more engaged in the process.
It’s a long proven fact that kids raised with a pet have stronger health and better immunity. Truth be told, it’s yet unclear why exactly it happens (whether pets lick out harmful microbes and bacteria, or they act as a “training device” for a child’s immunity; or perhaps, both) but it remains the case. As a rule, the students who own a pet suffer from allergies less often, show better metabolism, and have a lower risk of respiratory and heart diseases.
That being said, healthy students don’t skip school and can stay focused for a longer period, which directly influences their academic performance and learning success. When attendance records are compared, students who have pets usually show about twice as better annual presence at school than their no-pet schoolmates.
Additionally, those who own dogs usually spend one to three hours per day walking and training their furry friend. It helps them to improve their skeletomuscular system, posture, as well as release excessive energy. So when their more passive schoolmates suffer from back pains and hyperactivity, pet-having students remain concentrated and attentive.
Lower Emotional Tension
Recent research has also revealed that animals help to fight stress and restore emotional balance. Every time feeling down, unwell, exhausted, or lonely, children feel the need of touching and hugging their pets. The secret is in the hormone oxytocin, which is produced when we pet an animal. It gives a sense of tranquility and happiness which may be too hard to find under so much stress students often experience. Some of them also admit they love doing their homework with their furry pals around. Occasionally paying attention to their pets, they get that minimum distraction the brain needs to regain strength and concentration while talking to pets often brings good ideas and insights.
Animal therapy has been widely used to help students with special needs to learn and adapt socially. Due to its known efficiency in lowering stress levels, exposure to animals helps young learners to relax, release all the tension, and focus on discovering and studying what the world has prepared for them.
However, a get-a-pet idea is growing its popularity in ordinary classrooms as well. Parrots, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, cats, and even dogs join the ranks of students even more often now. Not only do they keep their classmates busy during breaks, but also help to correct the behavior of difficult individuals and establish a positive environment in the class.
The thing is that pets encourage careful treatment and nurturing. They don’t like cruelty and roughness. Even the harshest students realize very soon that love and care for all creatures great and small can bring them a more enjoyable experience than bullying and boorishness. They learn to be sensitive and aware of what others feel and need, and they can transfer this empathy to all their relationships.
When respect and politeness rule in the class, it is much easier to talk about cooperation, productivity, and fun learning, isn’t it?
Better Self-Esteem and Sense of Responsibility
Whether it’s cleaning the cage, filling the food bowl, having long walks, or even taking to the vet for a regular examination – all that gives students an understanding that they are responsible forever for what they’ve tamed.
Caring for a pet requires a lot of discipline, attention, and time. It means that often they have to stick to a strict schedule and sacrifice some of their immediate wants and needs to fit a pet in their daily routine. However, once they succeed, these qualities can be transferred to other facets of their life, like learning or sports.
Furthermore, the studies conducted by Waltham Petcare Science Institute confirmed that students who own a pet have better self-esteem than those who don’t. The understanding that you can help someone who depends on you gives students a special sense of pride and accomplishment, which grows even stronger if the creature shows its affection in return. The more they succeed in caring about their pets, the more confident they feel.
But in the end, the best about emotional support pets is that they always become your true friends. When you have someone to hug – someone who enjoys interacting with you as much – it’s impossible to feel lonely. Having a pet friend improves students’ social skills and helps them to communicate better in school surroundings, both with teachers and their schoolmates.