8th December 2021 All Posts

How Animals Can Impact Your Child’s Development

Animals and children share a special connection, and whether your child has a dog, cat, mouse, fish, or bird… the bond they share can positively impact your child’s cognitive and emotional development. 

An animal is always a big commitment, however deciding to extend your family with a new member can bring a whole myriad of benefits to you and your family whether it be emotional support, cuddles on the sofa, or pure entertainment and fun. 

Children do a lot of learning in their formative years, often soaking up experiences and information like a sponge. The ways we help our children to develop can impact them as they grow, and this is an important thing to note as a parent. Whether you decide to adopt a pet yourself or allow your child to interact with animals in their world, the benefit it can have is immense and it is what we want to discuss today. 

Animals can be a key component in child development, and here are just a few of the ways they can positively impact your child. 

Social skills

The first way an animal can help your child in their early years development is by encouraging socialisation. Animals are great conduits for interaction and if you have a shy child, allowing them to talk to an animal might bring them out of their shell. By spending time with an animal, your child will feel more comfortable talking and interacting with others. 

Emotional skills 

It is imperative that your child has the key emotional skills to help them through life. Emotional development such as empathy and compassion are key skills for a child to learn, and the presence of an animal can do this. When your child sees the happiness in an animal’s face, it will help them to feel empathy and begin to understand the importance of other people’s emotions. 

Increase self-esteem

Animals, particularly dogs and cats are incredibly affectionate towards children and the affection and love they show to your child will make them feel special. It is very common that the presence of an animal will improve self-esteem in both children and adults, so this is a wonderful reason to encourage this type of interaction. 

Learn responsibility

Like Uncle Ben says to Spider-Man ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ 

When a child gets their first pet, they will hold power over the wellbeing of said animal. This is a great opportunity as a parent to teach your child how their actions impact others. By allowing your child to look after another living thing and care for it, it will instill a sense of responsibility as well as maturity from a young age. When in a nursery setting, a class pet can be looked after by all of the children according to a rota of tasks, and this also has the added benefit of building their team working skills. 


Children can sometimes struggle to learn new subjects, but it has been shown that having a pet such as a dog around can improve a child’s literacy skills by making them feel at ease and relaxed at home and in a school setting. By allowing a child to read out loud to a dog or another pet, it will help them to improve their reading skills as well as their confidence. 

Children and animals will always have a special bond, and bringing them together can be beneficial to everyone involved. 

Enter our Pets at Home contest!

This December we are giving you a chance to win a £15 Pets at Home voucher. All you need to do is share a photo of your child’s festive furry friend on Instagram and tag us @connectchildcare with the hashtag #connectpetmas. 

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About the Author

Imogen is our Content and Social Media creative