Anxiety is an unpleasant experience, no matter what age you are afflicted with it. Many people suffer from anxiety at stressful stages of their lives, such as if they have an important exam that they need to pass.
Some people’s anxiety is so intense that they must receive counseling or therapy to overcome it.
Thankfully, there are lots of strategies that can be used to help children with anxiety.
One of the best techniques is to get them an emotional support animal (ESA) who can provide a calming influence.
But what animals make the best pets for children with anxiety? We’ve got the answers.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of overwhelming worry and panic. It can range in severity, with some sufferers experiencing slight and occasional anxiety while other people feel intense anxiety.
While it is normal to feel anxious when one is facing stressful periods, anxiety is when this feeling of fear is nearly constant.
Feelings of anxiety are also common among children. This is because there are stages of their development that induce stress.
For example, the first time that the parent separates from the child may cause them to feel anxious.
Also, a child’s first few days at a new school may be fraught with anxiety. Moreover, children tend to develop specific fears, common among them being phobias of the dark and certain animals.
While this level of anxiety is pretty standard, you should keep an eye on your child to see whether their anxiety has escalated.
For instance, if your child’s anxiety is continuous, then they might be suffering from severe anxiety.
Moreover, if it is having an impact on their mental health and self-esteem, then you should consider taking your child to a trusted doctor.
What Pets Are Best For Childhood Anxiety?
If you suspect that an animal might help your child cope with their anxiety, then there are a lot of different options for consideration.
Just bear in mind that you do not want to introduce an animal that will add to their anxiety.
For instance, if your child is afraid of insects, we do not advise opting for a tarantula.
Here are perhaps the four best pets for childhood anxiety:
These adorable animals are excellent pets for children because they do not require as much maintenance as larger pets.
Rabbits tend to have big personalities, allowing your child to make a fluffy friend.
On the other hand, rabbits tend to have a short lifespan of just 6 to 8 years. This is pretty decent for small animals, though it is shorter than the typical lifespan of a cat or dog.
Therefore, if your child is not in a position to learn about mortality, you might want to get a pet with a longer average life span.
When many people think of pets, their minds will immediately turn to dogs. Dogs are perhaps the most popular pet in the world.
These furry companions are great for anxiety, as they tend to be very confident, loving, and affectionate.
There are tons of different breeds out there, so you should think about which one best suits your lifestyle.
For instance, big dogs may not be ideal for small apartments. You should also think about which breed will best relax your child. Retrievers and greyhounds are quite popular among anxiety sufferers.
If you are searching for a small pet that won’t take up much space, a guinea pig is perfect.
These rodents are unlikely to bite children, particularly if you familiarize them with human contact from a young age.
Your child can hold a guinea pig in their palm whenever they feel stressed. Some people even enjoy placing them on their chests.
While some cats can be stubborn and antisocial, some can also make outstanding emotional support animals.
Just make sure that you research how affectionate the breed is before investing in a cat. The more affectionate the cat is, the better it will be for a child with anxiety.
Other animals that are suitable for anxiety include:
What are the Benefits of Pets for Children?
There are lots of reasons that you should consider adding a pet to your household. They can make children feel calmer, hence why they are used as emotional support animals.
Moreover, pets can allow your child to get more exercise, thus improving their physical health.
This happens when children play with their pets or walk the dog. Finally, the presence of a pet in the household will teach children about responsibility.
How Can Childhood Anxiety Be Treated?
Aside from emotional support animals, there are lots of techniques that you can utilize to reduce your child’s anxiety. Here are some of the main strategies that you can try with your child:
- Talk to them: attempt to find the root of their anxiety. What is causing them the problem? Once you know this, you can find the solution. If your child is afraid of something, you can either eliminate it or talk about why they should not fear it.
- Meditation and relaxing techniques: there are lots of different breathing activities that promote relaxation. If you are unsure of how these activities work, feel free to do some research.
- Create a routine: routines are useful for children, as they add an element of structure to their life. This is especially true of children afflicted with anxiety. Routine can be reassuring to them.
- Distract them: if there is a period of the day that makes your child anxious, such as going to school, you should consider distracting them beforehand. This can be as simple as playing a game of “I Spy” on the journey.
Childhood anxiety can be troublesome not just for the sufferer, but also for their parents.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you to understand how pets can reduce a child’s anxiety and make them feel relaxed.
Before picking a pet, we seriously suggest that you think about which animal is best suited to your child.