Many of us know the countless benefits for social and emotional health that dogs can bring.
We also know that taking on a dog is a huge responsibility, particularly should you already have children (Source: Wuffes). You might be wondering about whether the positives of your child having a dog will outweigh any stress or responsibility on your part.
The reality is that dogs are incredibly good for children’s emotional, and even physical, health. If you have a child who is already struggling but some level of anxiety or stress, investing in a dog could be one of the best things you ever do for them. but no matter how your child is coping, a dog can offer a great number of lessons and a huge amount of companionship to a child.
Here are our five biggest emotional benefits to your child having a dog:
This point is number one for a reason, dogs can do a tremendous amount of good when it comes to easing anxiety. This benefit also amazingly applies to adults. Both children and adults who have experienced all sorts of brain trauma (more information: Brian Barr) can almost instantly see the benefits of pets, dogs and animal interactions.
Stroking your pet has been clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety, not to mention that the unconditional love a dog can give to a child will be fantastic in building emotional resilience and a sense of self-worth.
Another great way to support a child with anxiety would be to have them talk to their dog. Children may feel uncomfortable and even more anxious discussing their thoughts and feelings with a parent or teacher, but talking to a dog has no consequences. the child will know that they can say whatever they want and share anything I need to get off your chest without having to worry about the consequences. This in itself can be an amazing way to ease anxiety.
Encouragement to get outdoors
We all know that I don’t need to get outside but so do I children. Very often we forget about the incredible healing and stress relieving properties that the outside world has for us. Getting your child to head outside with you to take the dog for a walk on a regular basis will not only be amazing for their physical health but even more so for their emotional and mental health. Not to mention that the routine of a regular walk will do wonders to ease anxiety and increase stability and a child’s life.
Support with Reading
Reading is incredibly good for children’s cognitive development and also their emotional and social growth. But reading aloud to an adult can be stressful for children. Why not have them instead read to their furry companion? They’ll be practicing the same skill but they won’t need to worry about making a mistake.
Dogs take a lot of work, but this isn’t necessarily a negative when it comes to supporting children. Part of children’s emotional development it’s being given responsibility and seeing themselves succeed. Why not let your child take some responsibility when it comes to looking after the dog. Having a regular task that your child can achieve will give him a small win everyday.
A new way to meet friends
Getting out and about in the park to walk your dog can be a great way to introduce your child to New Friends in a low-pressure situation. A playdate can be very intense for children who are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. But meeting up with a friend in the park will feel like no big deal, just make sure that the focus is on the dog so that your child feels relaxed and pressure free.