With mental health week last week and half term just around the corner, our discussions at Vamoosh HQ recently turned to children and pet ownership - and specifically, how dogs (and other pets) can be so beneficial to a child's mental health and overall wellbeing.
As we know, there is a lot of pressure on children today from school and social media, and at a time when emotional intelligence is at its most impressionable, pets around the home can be of real benefit.
If you’re reading this, you probably already have a pet around the home, but just to make you feel even better, here are our top 3 reasons why pet ownership is so good for children (and of course many of these apply to adults too).
1) A Sense of security and boosted self-esteem
When your child feels like the rest of their world (parents and teachers) is telling them what to do, giving them orders, instructions or nagging, a pet is there to accept them as they are and will never criticise or judge. Pets are also particularly good for children who struggle themselves to make friends as they can help them feel appreciated and secure thus improving their confidence. They can also be wonderful for older children whose parents aren't always around but still need some company and a little boost with their sense of security.
2) Stress and anxiety relief
As mentioned, being a child in today’s world is pretty stressful. We all know that bringing your dog to work can help reduce stress, and the same is at home. Simply stroking or interacting with a pet releases endorphins which make us happy. This naturally lowers stress and anxiety and in time can really strengthen a child’s mental health.
3) Emotional Maturity
Learning that sometimes we don't always come at the top of the pecking order at home, can be a really good life lesson for children. Understanding that a pet's needs may come before our own wants and needs and learning to prioritise these will help your child grow into an adult who appreciates responsibilities and understands that we need to care for others.
So basically, if you don't yet own a dog or cat and you are being bugged incessantly by your child/re to enter into the world of pet ownership, you now have even less of an excuse!! :) However, of course, please always remember, that adding a pet to your family is a lifelong commitment that should not be taken lightly.