Want a healthier, happier child? Get a pet

Having a pet is an enormous responsibility for a young person. Often, they play a role in caring for the animal; feeding it, taking it for walks, and picking up the deposits the furry darlings leave on the lawn.

But what their cuddly companion actually offers in return for all those walks and bowls of jellymeat is totally worth it.

A recent Aussie study of 4000 children found that kids who have a pet at home are more active, spend less time on screens, and even sleep better.

"Dogs are good for the physical wellbeing of our children," child development expert Nathan Wallis told The Project.

"Especially as they're able to go outside and run around with their dog."

The researchers also discovered kids with a fuzzy friend had better relationships with their peers in school, and a child who learns how to care for a pet also tends to learn how to better care for others. 

American research with preschoolers even found a child's study time improved with a dog in the room

Wallis agrees: "It's also good for brain development, as the child speaks and listens to their dog."

Of course, if you're a cat person, don't worry - you'll still get those brain-boosting benefits.

There may be less exercise involved since you don't really walk moggies. You do, however, have to get up to let it outside, then go back to the door five minutes later to let them in. So, yeah, a mild workout there.