Well, they did it again. Researchers finally proved something people already knew for thousands of years – living with a dog will make your kid grow up happier, healthier, and more socially aware.
I know a lot of you are probably palming your foreheads, going “DUH!” but it is not the ‘what’ that makes this interesting, but rather the ‘how.’
How Dogs Make Kids Happier
Obviously, having a dog is a great way to cheer up if you are feeling blue. However, developmentally, having a dog around gives kids one more outlet for unconditional love. Being able to pet, cuddle, or play with a dog at their leisure keeps them actively engaged in a caring relationship. And that, in turn, makes them happier.
How Dogs Make Kids Healthier
Sure, having a dog helps keep kids moving, but interestingly enough. children that grow up with dogs are actually not that much more physically active than their dogless counterparts. So how do dogs make kids healthier? The answer, as George Harrison would say, “it’s all in the mind, y’know.”
Having a dog around reduces childhood anxiety by providing them with a loyal companion and helping them cope with separation anxiety. Also, having a dog around can stimulate the brain’s release of oxytocin, which reduces cortisol (aka chemical stress). Point being, kids that grow up with dogs are better equipped to manage stress.
How Dogs Help Socialize Kids
Having a dog around teaches children some very important lessons about communication. While mom and dad are responsible for teaching us how to communicate verbally, there are tons of visual and physical cues that coincide with the verbal to create a much deeper, more robust form of communication.
Therefore, having a creature around that communicates largely through physical cues teaches kids the importance of understanding how to read and interpret this kind of interaction. And that, in turn, gives them a head start on picking up some of the more intricate aspects of communication.
So there you have it! Yet another series of reasons why having a dog will make your life richer and a more rewarding experience. And if not for you, then for your children.