Pawsitive Pals: Nurturing A Child’s EQ – by Nivetha Raj

It was a long day at work. My incomplete To-do list got me thinking on my drive back home. I leaned against the window in exhaustion. When my car took a familiar turn, there was a sudden sense of joy inside of me. As I stepped into my home, I smiled wide as I saw this wet-nosed, silly, tail-wagging, furry creation looking at me in excitement. There he was, Tootsie; my pet pug who simply knew how to make my world a better place’, shares Nivetha Raj who is specialised in Counseling Psychology and an EQ coach. In this blog, Nivetha shares how having pets at home help nurture a child’s EQ in the most simplest and meaningful ways.

I strongly believe in the saying “until one has loved a pet, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened”. Growing up in the USA, I recall my days in elementary school where every classroom had a pet. It was our responsibility to ensure our pets were safe and sound. We fell in love with some of the friendliest pet’s right from hamsters, guinea pigs, puppies, ducks, and rabbits to butterflies, goldfish, and bluebirds. We used to take turns in feeding them, cleaning their homes, taking them outdoors (except the fish of course), helping the vet, and playing with them. These pets were more than just cute, interactions with them made us happy, relaxed and some of us even spent most of our time talking to them. They showed us what unconditional love was all about and made us smile even when we didn’t do well on our math test.

Almost every family owned a pet. They actually kept the families together. You didn’t have to hunt for pet-friendly places, they were welcome everywhere! Most families believe that raising a child alongside a pet paves way for positive upbringing as they symbolise love, care, and companionship. That’s why American families usually adopt a pet when they have a newborn baby at home.

In working with young children with different abilities, I realised that most of them carried positive memories often related to their pet. Pets serve as a huge motivation, making therapy both fun and rewarding for children with a wide range of challenges, including down syndrome, learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism.

When the child grows up alongside a pet, the experience is endless.They learn to be kind and compassionate, understand responsibility, express themselves, develop social skills, comprehend tough life lessons and carry a high self-esteem. Pets have a way of making a child’s world colourful, meaningful, and complete. They can be invaluable in teaching children emotional intelligence or EQ – a measure of empathy and the ability to connect with others. And what better way to nurture EQ than with a lovely pet who is a gift to the whole family.

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3 Comments

  1. Hey nivi!! This is a real good one..I totally agree with you.. And we need to have a pet especially when there are kids I too had a Persian cat kids were so caring towards her but coz of Chennai weather I had to sent her back to Blore she was finding it very difficult to manage in this humidity.. Though she is far kids haven forgotten her they do see in her video call and they are more concerned like how and what to do to get her back after having a pet this habit of caring developed in my children and its obviously good and am glad…. 😊

    1. Thank you Farah for reading and sharing your beautiful experience with your Persian Cats. Children develop an everlasting relationship with the pets they spend even a few days with and this leaves a lasting impact on their lives. Hope your children and their pets get reunited under one roof soon!

  2. Very well written article Nivetha.Like the caption!Do agree with you in many ways.However,the possibility of having pets depends on where one lives.Pets are not allowed in most apartments.So I would say getting back to the age old habit of playing with neighbourhood friends can reduce screen time,pressure on kid and help them to maintain relayionships.
    It’s not uncommon to see the downtrodden living in thatched or humble accommodations,feeding dogs along side their children.So I guess this culture is also prevalent in India to some extent.
    It’s a brilliant idea to have pets in schools but more importsntly to allow children to handle them…’cos most often they’re kept in cages/enclosures…which doesn”t serve the purpose.
    Keep writing Nivetha…my student

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