Pets can help the children reduce childhood stress!
Humans can go through stress and anxiety from a very young age such as childhood stress. Although this matter is not given that much importance, but it has now been proved scientifically that children too face stress and anxiety and since they are not able to understand it and neither they can express it, it silently affects their personality and effects their upbringing.
However, a new study has taken the attention to the fact that pets can help reduce the childhood stress. Pets are a very important part of any child’s early life. just like pets’ help reduce the stress in elders, if not permanently, then at least for some time, same with children. Having a company of a pet helps them feel more relaxed and have less stress issues.
The theory that dogs and other pets help reduce childhood stress has been flying around for many years, however, there had not been any scientific proof or any solid evidence that this theory is actually true. However, in the recent years, this matter has been given more importance and many types of research and surveys have been conducted to reach to the final conclusion of this theory.
A research was conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC). In this research, a total of 643 children were monitored and observed for their behaviours. The children were between the ages of 4 and 10 and the research continued for 18 months. In this research, the children’s physical activity, mental health, screen time, body mass index and other activities and behaviours were tracked. The children were divided into two categories, one with dogs and the other without dogs and the result that came out of this research were quite surprising.
The results were based on the standard screening test called the Screen for Child Anxiety and Related Disorders(SCARED). From the children that did have a dog at home, which made 58%, 12 per cent were diagnosed positive with stress and anxiety. However, the kids with no pets (dogs specifically) this percentage rose 21% which meant that 21% of the kids that did not have a dog was going through stress and anxiety issues.
In another study, which was published in the journal Social Development, the researchers invited 100 families to their laboratory. These families came with their pets and dogs. The children were then asked to complete two tasks, one the public speaking task and other the mental arithmetic task. Both of these tasks are well known for evoking stress among human beings. Randomly children were assigned to go through the task with their dog or any pet, and others without any pet or any other social support.
To make the research better children’s saliva samples were taken to measure the cholesterol level which defines the stress in the body. It was found that children who has their pets company had lower cholesterol levels as compared to the kids who were there with their parents only or without any social support.
Hence both of these researches prove that having a pet reduces the childhood stress and helps the children to relax.
Having a pet helps the children communicate better, especially with dogs as they understand human cues, so the level of communication increases with them. This enables the kids to relax and release the social anxiety that they are facing. It works as an icebreaker between the kid and the social anxiety. The sense of attachment in the kids is increased by the pets and they feel more comfortable and confident while communicating and playing with their pets. This confidence then reflects upon in their social life and the way they interact with humans.
Hence it is very important for a child to have a company of a pet whom he/she trusts and feels comfortable with.