National Kids and Pets Day Date in the current year: April 26, 2024

National Kids and Pets Day National Kids and Pets Day is observed annually on April 26. It was created to celebrate the special bond between children and their pets, highlight the importance of picking the right pets for children at the right time, and encourage pet adoption.

For a lot of people who have grown up with animals, their first pet was a treasured friend who will forever hold a special place in their heart. Owning a pet is very beneficial for child development and can teach children important lessons about being gentle and compassionate with other living beings, taking responsibility, respecting the personal space and boundaries of others, and being empathetic (empathy isn’t something we’re born with or without; it is a skill that can be developed and honed).

Interaction with their pets also has emotional, mental and social benefits for children. The unconditional love and loyalty of animals becomes a source of comfort and joy for kids. This is especially true for kids that have social communication issues such as children on the autism spectrum. Having a pet can be beneficial for children with learning disabilities: reading aloud to a pet, who won’t interrupt or judge, can help boost a child’s literacy skills because it gives them motivation and confidence.

Of course, you can’t just buy your child a pet on a whim and hope that everyone will be sunshine and rainbows. A pet is a responsibility, not a toy for your kid. You must be absolutely sure that you can take care of both your child and their new companion, especially if your kid is very young. Here are a few tips on safety between children and pets that may come in handy:

  • Never leave a young kid unsupervised with an animal.
  • Teach your child not to approach their pet (or any animal, really) when it is eating, sleeping, busy chewing on a toy, or very excited.
  • Teach your child to handle their pet gently and avoid sudden moves or loud noises when approaching the pet.
  • Make sure your kid understands that an animal is a living creature with needs and feelings that deserves respect.

National Kids and Pets Day is one of many holidays created by Colleen Paige, a pet and family lifestyle expert who has dedicated her life to sharing her knowledge and expertise on all things pets, ranging from animal behavior and nutrition to pet fashion and interior design. Being both a mother and a pet owner, Paige wanted to celebrate that special connection kids have with their pets and the positive effects of pets on child development, as well as highlight the importance of choosing the right pet for your family and following child/pet safety guidelines.

The best way to celebrate National Kids and Pets Day is to consider getting your child a pet. Of course, you should only do this if you are 100% sure that your family is ready for such a responsibility. If you can’t adopt a pet for one reason or another, that’s totally okay! You can take your child to an animal farm or petting zoo, or volunteer at a local pet shelter if your kid is old enough to help out. If you already have a beloved family pet, share some pictures and videos on social media with the hashtag #NationalKidsAndPetsDay to spread the word.

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National Kids and Pets Day, observances in the US, environmental observances, animal holidays, Colleen Paige