Should My Children Have A Pet?

Parents are thinking about purchasing those ubiquitous Christmas gifts and often high on the list is a pet for their children.  Of course, children love the idea of owning a pet.  Who would not want small, fluffy (or scaly) creatures to show them unconditional love at all times? But pets can be much more than that.  In fact, studies have shown that pets can be catalysts for your children’s increased well-being.

Whether a dog, cat, lizard or bird, pets can provide their owners with countless benefits - especially children.  Here are a few great things that these wonderful creatures bring into our lives.

1.    They Teach Companionship. I think philosopher Martin Buber put it best when he said, "an animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language."  Though they do not speak the same language or have the same mannerisms that we do, our furry friends somehow understand us enough to show us love when we want it and comfort when we need it.

In addition, they teach responsibility. They show children that to love something also means to take care of it - to feed and nurture it. From a large dog to a small fish, taking care of pets requires a lot of work. Exposing children to caretaking at a young age develops many critical skills for the future.

2.    Bye-Bye Allergies! Studies have shown that children who grow up with cats and dogs are less like to be sick compared to other children their age, and they are also less likely to develop pet-related allergies. Being exposed to pet dander at an early age reduces their chances of developing these allergies by 33%, according to a study by pediatrician James E. Gern, as it strengthens their immune systems. Before you rush to get a pet though, talk with your pediatrician because it is still possible for your children to acquire allergies.

3.    They Promote Activity. Animals, like dogs, need to be taken out for walks everyday - sometimes more than once a day.  Doing a couple of laps around the neighborhood is nice, but you and your children can use this task as an opportunity to explore so much more and become increasingly active.  Walk to the dog park and meet new people; go hiking with your pet; or have a run on the beach.  Keeping active is essential for both children and adults.

4.    They Make Life a Little Brighter. There is just something about the company of a pet that makes most children and adults happy. It is said that when we interact with animals, our dopamine and serotonin levels increase. In other words, the happy hormones in our brains are released!

5.    They are Learning Companions! Parents oftentimes find their children doing homework with or reading to their pets.  This is because there is no judgement with pets.  The comfort that they provide creates a safe space for children when doing academic tasks (or any task they may not be confident in).

Above all these benefits, the best thing a pet has been known to provide is the strengthened bond between family members.  They bring out the spirits of love and cooperation in people.  So, if your children ever ask for a pet this Christmas, please keep these points in mind when making your decision. Hopefully, it ends in adding a new member to the family under the Christmas tree!

Are Your Parenting Skills Consistent?

As Christian parents, we want to raise Godly children.  But, in order to do so, our parenting skills should be consistent.  Ask yourself: Do you say one thing to your children, but do another?  Do you threaten, and threaten, and threaten, but never follow through?  Consistent parenting is very important to children because it builds a sense of security and character, and ultimately leads to them having a successful life. Children need to know what the rules are and what is expected of them.  And, they need to know what happens if they break the rules or do not follow through.  

Just as our Father God gave us rules and principles to follow in the Bible and lets us know what will happen if we do not follow them, we should treat our children similarly.   First, our morals and values must be consistent.  For example, if we believe that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), we must treat them as special and not abuse them.  But are you consistent?  It is easy to tell your children not to drink alcohol because of all the negative ramifications, but do you drink with friends?  

Second, our rules and requirements must be consistent.   We should not require one child to behave a certain way, but allow another child to do something different and then make excuses for that child. 

Third, the consequences or discipline we impose should be consistent.  Do not threaten to impose specific discipline, but then not impose it when the time comes.  There will eventually come a point where your child will simply ignore what you say either because you never followed through or you were inconsistent in your follow through.  The last thing that we want to happen as parents is that our children do not listen to what we have to say. 

Inspirational Back to School Quotes for Your Children – Build Trust

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

For the month of September, I have been centering my blog posts on inspirational, back to school quotes for your children.  In this last blog for the month, I would like to focus on teaching your children to trust God.

Trusting God first starts with children understanding and accepting the critical truth that He loves them unconditionally.  Unlike a parent whose love may be denied based on the child’s actions, God always loves us because He is love.  Since He loves us so very much, we know that we can trust Him in everything.

On her webpage, Rachel Wojo writes about many ways to teach trust to children.  She suggests taking your children to a planetarium, for example, to help them understand how big our God is and how His ways are greater than our ways.  She also has a list of Bible verses to read with your children to help them build trust.  She further suggests spending quality time praying with your children, and when their prayers are answered, remind them of all that God has done for them.  To learn more, visit her webpage by clicking here.

Inspirational Back to School Quotes for Your Children – Build Honesty

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippians 4:8 NLT

This is my third blog post for the month of September on back to school inspirational quotes for your children. Today, I would like to stress the importance of honesty.  Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  John 14:6.  Since He is the Truth and our example, we should strive to be truthful in all that we say and do.  

Being honest all the time is not easy.  When your children are in school, there will be times that they will be asked questions.  Will they speak the truth or lie?  Help them to be bold in honesty.  In doing so, it’s important to remember that your children are watching and listening to you.  If you do not tell the truth, it will be difficult for your children to do so.  Be a role model of integrity for them. 

For the Month of September – Inspirational Back to School Quotes for Your Children – Stress Their Uniqueness

You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.

Psalm 139:13-14

    Since the month of September involves our children going back to school, I would like to give parents some inspirational, back to school quotes for their children in my blog posts for this month.  This week’s blog focuses on encouraging your children to stand out in their classrooms and among their friends.

In other words, they should strive to be the special, unique persons they were created to be, and not try to blend in with the crowd.  Build up their self-confidence.  Talk to them about their God given gifts and talents.  Speak blessings over them in the mornings and pray with them before they head out to school.  Read Bible verses that refer to how special they are.  Don’t let this be just another start of an ordinary school year, but seek to make this school year exceptionally different and special.  It’s up to parents to set the stage for their children’s success. 

Choosing a Good Summer Camp for Your Children

As summer vacation approaches, many parents are searching for a good summer camp for their children.  First, you must decide if you and your child are ready for an overnight camp or just a day camp nearby.  And, then, what type of a camp should you send them to.

It is recommended that children under 12 years should not attend an overnight camp away from home. I fully agree with that.  We sent our older son Zachary to an overnight camp at the age of 8 for 2 weeks.  His father and I thought he was mature and independent enough to enjoy it.  He told us that he did enjoy it, but did not want to attend an overnight camp again.  Of concern to us was the bullying stories he told us about after the camp concluded.  He certainly had some adjustment issues being so young.  

In regard to a day camp, I encourage parents to spend time investigating the camp and its counselors and supervisors.  Also, speak with other parents and get their recommendations.

Importantly, visit the camp location.  Find out what is on the daily schedule.  Just do not put your children in a day camp because they need a babysitter.  Look for camps that will accentuate your children’s gifts and talents.  Zachary is very athletic, so we often put him in a sports camp.  Our youngest son James is artistic, so we tried to put him in a camp that would help him develop that gift.  

Take the time to research and investigate what is the best camp for each of your children.  You will be happy that you did.