Children who read picture books have a more realistic view of the animal kingdom and a deeper connection with the animals, which has an impact on them in a variety of ways. Understanding that relationship may aid parents in selecting the right pet for their child and provide them with a greater understanding of the elements that contribute to a truly 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. However, other theories about the advantages of pets for children go even further, suggesting that having pets can impact children’s social skills, physical health, and even cognitive development, as well as that having pets is associated with greater empathy. A pet can help families and kids with autism symptoms feel less stressed and foster the growth of supportive connections.

Furthermore, a child’s relationship with their pet may provide them with a much-needed connection to nature, according to 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. He continued by saying that having a real, breathing, slightly untidy animal running around the house is an excellent way to encourage these connections.