It’s natural to wonder how having a dog will affect your child’s development. Although a pet at home is often associated with additional responsibilities, having a dog has many more advantages than disadvantages.
If you want your children to be responsible people and want them to be healthy and able to live in society, all you need is a furry friend who will effortlessly raise those small citizens. This kind of upbringing can’t be replaced by any school or nanny.
Your role in the bonding process between your dog and your child is crucial. As a parent, teach your child how to handle a dog, familiarize them with what their pet can eat and the dog food myths, and show what type of touch is pleasing to the animal.
There’s nothing like seeing a kid grow up with an animal. What’s more, the child gains empathy, has something to take care of, learns responsibility, and in return receives a tireless playmate, the most faithful friend, and when necessary, a protector.
Here are other ways of how a dog affects a child’s development:
The Dog and Self-Confidence
A child who suffers from a lack of self-confidence can diminish this trait thanks to a dog. Responsibility for a pet gives the child faith in their strength and shapes their character. The kid realizes that the animal depends, to a large extent, on him, and this awareness builds a sense of importance and duty.
Some parents “use” dogs as companions for learning to read. Encouraging your child to read aloud to your dog will be a great exercise for them. If your child is ashamed of reading some text to you, ask if they would read it to the dog. Most likely, all the barriers will be gone immediately, and reading will be associated with pleasure.
Anyone who has a dog knows that this creature adores his owners selflessly. Thanks to this, little humans also feel loved and needed. As a result, in adult life, maintaining good relationships with others should be more natural. And unfortunately, this skill is not as common as one would hope.
It’s not just about the dog-child relationship. By caring for a dog together, family members also become closer to each other, and family ties are strengthened.
The Perfect Companion for Children with Autism
Dog therapy dedicated to children who have autism may be very effective and extremely stimulating. Autistic children who have regular contact with dogs are definitely less aggressive and more willing to establish a connection with the environment.
An important benefit of dog therapy is that it prepares the child for re-socialization. The dog supports the child with autism and encourages them to play with their peers. The dog’s presence means that the child does not feel such intense stress and copes better when establishing contacts with other people.
Active Lifestyle and Discipline
Walking and playing with a dog outdoors is a priceless contribution to the physical development of every child – even for those who don’t generally enjoy outdoor activities. The dog, thanks to its enthusiasm, can awaken a love for nature. On the other hand, it helps hyperactive kids in their fight against the inability to focus.
The necessity to go out with the dog in the morning gets the child used to the daily schedule. It is an excellent lesson of discipline.
Calm and Happy Child
The magical influence of animals on humans is pure chemistry. While stroking and cuddling, the level of oxytocin – the hormone of happiness and love – increases. Oxytocin is responsible for neutralizing stress and lowering blood pressure.
This is all to simply say that a dog makes a person calmer, gentler, happier, and healthier. This can best be seen through children: they are more curious about the world, more self-confident, more friendly, and willing to undertake various activities.
Children who live with their dogs get sick less often. Especially when it comes to getting respiratory diseases and other infections. Many parents wrongly try to isolate their offspring from all microbes by raising them in the most sterile conditions possible.
However, this practice weakens the child’s immune system instead of strengthening it. Microbes living in the dog’s body stimulate this system to work more efficiently and thus increase its effectiveness.
There is a great therapeutic potential in direct contact with an animal-based on absolute love, trust, and complete acceptance. In fact, raising a child with a dog brings great benefits in every developmental sphere – physical, intellectual, social, and emotional.
Remember that a dog cannot be a gift for a child. It is the worst possible present because it objectifies the animal. What you want to teach your child by introducing a dog into their life is responsibility and consistency, not their superiority over a living creature. Make sure that the decision to buy or adopt a dog is conscious. This will help arouse sensitivity and empathy in the child, as well as provide you, as a parent, a sense of pride by seeing your child’s love for their newfound friend.