Seems like everyone has a busy schedule and entertainment through technology has become a way of life. It’s a challenge to get the little ones outside for much needed physical activity.
However, one answer could be with a four legged family member. A recent article published in Pediatric Research found that owning, walking and playing with a family dog has many benefits for your toddler. A family dog can help with your child’s social and emotional development.
Of those who participated in the study, the toddlers from dog families were 30% less likely to have conduct and peer problems compared to those toddlers who did not own dogs. Toddlers can benefit from interacting with a pet.
Given the value of movement for childhood development and prior research on how dogs might help, the authors thought these same associations might be possible in early childhood.
There is a need to get children moving and active for childhood development. Research has shown how dogs may help even in the early childhood years. If you involve your child with the tasks associated with caring for your pet, such as walking the dog and playing with the dog, it benefits both the child and the dog.
How preschoolers benefited from dogs
When toddlers are from families with dogs, they are more likely to have prosocial behaviors and more likely to have less difficulties. Children had higher prosocial scores when they played with their dog at least three times a day and walked their dog at least one time a week when compared to those who performed the tasks less often.
“These results highlight that even a small to moderate commitment to involving preschoolers in time spent walking with the family dog may provide important social and emotional benefits for young children,” the study said.
When children are around dogs, they have to read what the dog is thinking and learn how to respond to their behavior. That gets children out of their headspace and able to think about another being and their needs. That’s the beauty of learning empathy.
Dogs can teach children about responsibility through caring, training and looking after their pet. There are many benefits to having your child grow up with a pet. Weigh your options and consider what’s best for you and your family.