With advancements in technology and the vast range of recreational options, family time and outdoor activities have taken a back seat. Given the busy schedules and lack of attention towards little ones have impacted their physical as well as emotional development.
With the world coming to a standstill physically, everything has moved online. Parents are pressed for time with toddlers being locked indoors with little or no options to play. It has been hard on them and can severely obstruct their healthy growth.
However, there is a great solution that can make your worries go away as per journal Paediatric Research’s recent study. Owning and spending time with a pet dog: playing or walking can boost and enhance your toddler’s emotional growth and social development. Dogs are great companions who teach compassion, empathy, and show unconditional love.
As the study reports, toddlers from the participating dog-owning families were more compassionate. They had 30% less conduct and peer issues than the ones from families without pet dogs. Researchers concluded that supervised interaction with a pet at a young age has many benefits and impacts. The study’s senior author Hayley Christian who is an associate professor and senior research fellow in the Centre for Child Health Research at The University of Western Australia says, “Regular physical activity plays an important role during early childhood, contributing to young children’s development and decreasing their risk of developing chronic diseases including obesity.”
The global recommendation for preschoolers is to be active and engaged in activities throughout the day. However, current scenarios are not at par with it. Christian says that less than a third of children ranging from 2-5 ages get only three hours of physical activity per day. Less activity can hamper a child’s development and growth. In return, it makes children weak and unhealthy.
Dogs Teach Empathy
The loyalty and compassion of dogs can be beneficial for the emotional training of your toddler. Owning a dog is not that easy; hence it teaches the importance of responsibility and inculcates a positive identity. Children who are introduced to dogs or animals, in general, tend to grow up empathetic and trustworthy. However, the interaction and exposure should be supervised. These results are mostly from studies conducted on older children and adults.
Good Nutrition is Important
Although the benefits of a family dog cannot be emphasized enough, however, the study fails to include information about the family structures. Hence, it is possible that it referred to families with good financial backgrounds to provide proper dog nutrition. There are many other studies and theories regarding family dogs, its benefits as well as ill effects. Human behavior and characters are diverse and cannot be generalized.
Learning can thus become fun with a family dog helping your toddler in many ways. This brings us to the conclusion as to why getting a dog is purely an individual decision and largely depends on the caretaking ability of the owner!