Science of Parenting: Children and Pets

 a girl and a dogAMES, Iowa — When the kids start clamoring for a kitten or a dog or a hamster, how should parents respond? During April, family life specialists Donna Donald and Lori Hayungs talk about when and whether children should have pets in the Science of Parenting blog from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“Children and animals seem like a perfect match. Many of us adults remember the special bonds we had with pets when we were children,” Donald said. “It’s hard to resist the pleas of our kids when it comes to the adorable kittens and puppies and other little critters. But we also realize it is a major commitment to bring a pet into our home.”

During April Donald and Hayungs will address the big question: Is a pet worth the effort?

“We’ll share research in human-animal interaction and talk about how to determine the right age for children to have pets, how to make choices about pets and what pets can teach our children,” Hayungs said.

Learn more from tips on the blog throughout the month of April and in a five-minute podcast.

Through the Science of Parenting,, ISU Extension and Outreach specialists share and discuss research-based information and resources to help parents rear their children. Parents can join in the conversation and share thoughts and experiences, as well as how they handle parenting responsibilities.