Every one of us undergoes the feeling of stress one way or another.
And we are constantly on a quest to find coping strategies to relieve stress and anxiety.
It can start as early as when we are young kids.
Countless causes of stressors increase stress and anxiety in your kid, such as a change in routine, change of environment, or even expectations from our parents. Some kids can handle the situation ideally, while others bottle up their anxiety and eventually lead to mental disorders at a young age.
In Singapore, besides our delectable food culture and beautiful cityscapes, we are known to have a tough exam syllabus. Our education system might be one of the best, but our kids are often under an immense amount of stress to excel.
There are many proven ways to relieve stress in kids. Some of these methods include:
1. Encouraging them to speak out
2. Focusing on the positivity
3. Spending quality time with your kids (by putting away those devices!)
4. Outdoor activities
5. Having family boding time
6. Listening to their problems and anxiety
7. Being respectful
8. Reading together
9. Improving the quality of sleep
10. Building confidence and self-esteem
Among the numerous ways to relieve stress in our kids, there is one method that will be melting everyone’s hearts with its cuteness.
That’s right! PETS.
Pets have been linked with multiple health benefits for adults, and it is no different for our kids.
People with pets tend to have lower blood pressure, heart rate, and heart disease risk than those without pets. Up until recently, scientists have constantly carried out studies on how pets benefit people with challenging disorders.
Darlene Kertes and colleagues conducted a study on 100 pet-owning families. The kids were allocated random stressful tasks with 1) their pet dog around, 2) with their parents present, or 3) with no social support.
The researchers found out that the kids with their pet dogs around reported feeling less stressed as compared to having their parents around or without any other support.
Studies conducted by other researchers also supported the same findings like the above study. The kids felt the same sense of stress relief in the presence of a dog, and they had lower cortisol levels than those who did not. Calling out to their dog during a stressful situation appears to be part of their coping mechanism.
When the child interacts with their dog, it also acts as an emotional outlet for the kid. Having a pet around also makes one feel less judged by their peers and parents. There are no expectations from a pet except love and care, as such, it soothes the anxiety feeling that might be building in the kid.
Remember when I mentioned those ten methods to relieve stress in kids above?
Well, here are some benefits you can expect when you have a pet dog.
Your kids can be actively involved in bringing the pet dog out for long walks. It is a good activity for the whole family. The longer the family spent time together, the better improved the relationships and bonds will be.
Having a pet, regardless of a dog, guinea pig, or fish, involves responsibility in caring for it.
The pet is a long-term commitment, and it requires care and love.
Learning to care for another living being does relieve stress in your kid one way or another. Your kid will not be focusing on the stressor, instead, he will be concerned about whether the pet’s needs have been met.
The feeling of being needed
All of us want to feel needed, it makes us feel important and motivated to do better.
A pet is unable to express itself in words, making your kid feel that it is his job to look after the pet. Of course, your kid will still need your help and sometimes supervision but caring for the pet will provide positive encouragement to him. This can greatly relieve stress in him, as his confidence will start to increase over time.
My personal experience having my kids around our pet dog and cat has been a learning journey.
I have never known the effect the animals have on them until I see it for myself.
There was once when my youngest son fell and injured his knee quite badly. He was sitting in the living room wailing and bleeding, and right beside him was our cat, looking helpless and trying to use her body warmth to console him. Our dog was barking loudly, trying to attract our attention that her little owner is in ‘danger’. It was such a beautiful sight that has been imprinted in my memory ever since.
Choosing the right pet for your family is essential as we have different family responsibilities and commitments. Not all of us are suitable to have a horse if we live in high-rise apartments, and not all of us love to watch fishes swimming in the tank.
To help you decide in choosing the right pet, this article will surely be the one you need:
There are multiple ways to relieve stress in yourself and your kids.
Having pets have been one of the best decisions, and they have brought much joy to the family.
It can be very stressful nearing an examination period, or training for the upcoming swim competition, and I found that my kid’s style to relieve stress is to talk to the pets. They have no idea what he was saying, but keywords like ‘eat’ and the rising octave in his voice always get their tails wagging. That alone has relieved a great amount of stress for that moment.
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Do you have pets in your family which also help to relieve stress? Share with me what you and your pet do to destress!