All any parent wants is for their child to be healthy, happy, and well-adjusted. Did you know that owning a pet can actually help this dream come true?
According to the American Kennel Club, many studies have been done on the effects having a pet can have on your child. You may ask, how can having a pet affect my child?
Through research, I found out that having a pet can have many different effects on your child.
The top 5 effects are:
- Less stress on your child
- A higher sense of self-worth
- Higher cognitive abilities
- Reduced chance of child obesity
- Increased overall happiness
How does having a pet reduce my child’s stress?
Amazingly enough, studies have shown that when you or your child pet an animal, it actually lowers your cortisol levels! For anyone who doesn’t know, cortisol comes from your adrenal glands. It is a steroid hormone that can have harmful effects on your child if their levels become too high.
In other words, if your child’s stress levels are too high, they will have high cortisol levels. High cortisol levels can lead to type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and so much more. Sounds bad right?
Well apparently, if you get your child an animal, and your child pets said animal, your child will be less stressed and healthier overall!
Next up, a higher sense of self-worth.
Self-worth comes from believing you’re are a capable human being and you are. How does this relate to having a pet? Well, when your child does simple tasks like feeding the dog, putting down the water bowl, or even giving your pet a bath, their sense of self-worth has been proven to increase.
However, this can have a downside. Make sure to only let your children try to do pet tasks. For example, letting your three-year-old try to walk an unruly dog could lower their self-esteem. The idea that they aren’t capable of doing something comes into effect.
Increasing your child’s cognitive abilities can be very beneficial.
Cognitive abilities are the ability to learn, pay attention, solve problems, and remember things. Sounds pretty important right? Your child’s cognitive abilities are always changing and improving as they age. But what if you could help them improve even more by simply getting them a pet?
Research has shown that children who own pets tend to talk to them, have whole conversations, or even just babble at them. These actions help improve your child’s cognitive development by exercising their brain daily.
This effect is actually quite obvious. Owning a pet, especially a dog, will cause your child to be more active. Dogs need attention. They need to be walked, played with, even taken to the park to run around. It’s also just fun!
While your child is running around laughing and playing with their dog, they are exercising their bodies and don’t even know it! Being active every day leads to a lower chance of your child becoming obese. Now, what parent wouldn’t want that?
Finally! The big one! Every parent wants their child to grow up happy right?
Besides having a constant companion, someone who always listens and never judges, and someone who is always overjoyed to see you, having a pet can raise your child’s dopamine and serotonin levels. Dopamine and serotonin are hormones in your body that help lift your mood.
Your child and their pet have an extremely close bond that is basically love. When they walk in the door and see that wagging tail, wriggly body or meows racing towards them, they feel a type of love that is different than the love they feel from their parents.
It’s unconditional friendship. It’s their best friend who will always be there and will never let them down. That right there…that is what affects your child the most. That subconscious knowledge that they have that best friend that will never ever let them down.