A dog is an amazing addition to your family and for children it is one of the most wonderful gifts in life that they can receive. When you welcome a furry friend into your home you can expect to see some positive changes in your child both socially and emotionally. This post is all about the benefits of your child being a dog owner.
There is a deep and everlasting bond between children and dogs, especially if they have been together since either their newborn or puppy stage of life. As a child grows and develops along with the family pet the benefits continue to change and grow and are carried from pre-school age into the later stages of childhood. It is a continuous flow of positive social and emotional growth for the child.
Benefits of Your Child Being a Dog Owner
If you are considering adopting or buying a pet dog these findings might help you confirm your desire to own a pet. Or if you already have a little paws running around your home this information will surely make you even more glad that you opened your heart and home to a pet pooch.
Exercise and Mental Wellbeing
It is proven that exercise improves mental health and wellbeing. When exercise is combined with playing and walking a dog the benefits are increased even more. Even a 15 – 20 minute play session of throwing a ball and running around the yard can do wonders for your child and your dog on so many levels.
Relationships and Behavior
Research shows children coming from a family with a pet dog have less issues with their peers and less behavior problems. Also they have a higher level of prosocial behavior which links to empathy, caring and sympathy for others.
Motivation and Support
Dog ownership for adults leads to increased motivation in life and emotional support. It is thought perhaps this is also the case for young children. We all need a little motivation at times and also emotional support throughout the ups and downs of life.
Owning a dog may help your child go through these life stages, that they will surely face in the future, with more ease. Being a dog owner can provide your child much needed motivation in other areas of his life.
For children a pet is an excellent teacher of responsibility. Your child will learn all of the responsibilities that come with having a pet. The list could include feeding, cleaning, walking, petting and talking to the new best friend. The magic is that many of these tasks are enjoyable for your child and will become a habit after some time.
If a child is very young, this can be one of the first times he or she has given and received love from outside the immediate family. So it can be an emotional development milestone as his or her world expands to include love towards a living being outside the family unit. It truly is a joy to witness and comes with many social and emotional benefits now and in the future.
Receiving Love as a Dog Owner
At the same time children learn to express love towards the dog they also learn to receive love in a new way. Dogs love unconditionally and endlessly. The child is exposed to a constant flow of love, devotion and loyalty from the family pet. It is not that surprising that this form of love is reflected in the social and emotional growth of the child.
Language Skills and Ability
A child will usually talk to their dog a lot so language skills are being practiced constantly. Also they will use a different style of language talking at an animal normally so it is further expansion of their vocabulary and language usage.
Self Esteem and Confidence
Owning a dog can give your child a heightened sense of self esteem and confidence as they learn how to care for a dog, experience love and bonding and gain a feeling of being responsible for the dog’s life. Along with that comes the growth of other emotions including trust, patience, empathy and concern.
Reduced Stress as a Dog Owner
Research shows animals reduce stress due to certain hormones released for everyone including children. For a child suffering from anxiety a pet can be life changing.
As the saying goes, dog is a man’s best friend. Actually dogs (and other animals) are a kid’s best friend also. Kids have limitless imaginations and will create new worlds with their pets. It is a great way for little ones to express themselves and have someone to talk to and listen, even if the answer is a sloppy lick on the face.
The health and wellness benefits that come with developing well socially and emotionally are many. They include being a healthy weight, being fit and strong and enhanced motor, cognitive, social and emotional skills. Sadly in most countries there are some groups of children who are lacking the support, resources and environmental surroundings needed to achieve this vital progress. It is possible a solution, in part, could be dog ownership. What a wonderful way to help our youth live a better life and also to contribute to the wider community as a whole.
It really is a huge and continued blessing to see the love blossom between your child and their beloved pet dog. It will melt your heart and you will see the flow on effects throughout their childhood and into the teen years and possibly beyond.
Kritter Kommunity Contributor