Some Stressed Kids do Better with Pets

Some Stressed Kids do Better with Pets

Do you have a kid who’s feeling down in the dumps? Give them some playtime with a furry friend. Taking your child to a dog pound or animal shelter is a great idea -- especially if he or she is having a tough time because of a divorce, a family move or the extended absence of a parent.

A study from Tufts University found that kids in military families with a deployed parent exhibit significantly higher stress levels than other kids. However, when researchers conducted youth development evaluations, which measure qualities like responsibility, resiliency and self-confidence, kids from military families with pets scored better than military kids without pets.

We bet a lot of children could gain the same positive benefits -- especially those dealing with family upheaval, on the autism spectrum or with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The bonding, love and routine that come with having a pet soothe emotions and provide a sense of security. And there’s a physical health bonus too. Many studies show that having a pet can lower blood pressure, ease pain, slash the risk of allergies in kids and promote a healthier lifestyle.

So if your family is dealing with some tough times and it’s taking a toll on your kids, consider a visit to the ASPCA to discuss bringing home a bundle of joy -- and responsibility.

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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