Children have a more solid understanding of the animal world and a closer connection with the animals. With a better understanding of that connection, parents may be better able to choose the right pet for their child and recognize the elements that contribute to a successful bond.

“It’s really important, especially for young kids, to learn that someone’s perspective might be different from their own,” says Megan Mueller, associate professor of human-animal interaction at Tufts University, US. She said that pet ownership may affect kids’ social skills, physical health, and even cognitive development, as well as how it may lead to increased empathy. A pet can reduce stress and promote the development of positive relationships for families and children with autism symptoms.

John Bradshaw, a former reader in companion animal behavior at the University of Bristol in the UK and the author of several books on cats and dogs, claims that one of the best ways to encourage connection to nature is to have a real, breathing, slightly messy animal running around the house.