How Animals Can Help Reduce Child Anxiety
The Academy of Anxiety and Depression of America reveals that anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. Since most children love animals, they get immense pleasure out of animals.
Therapy animals can play an important role in reducing anxiety in children by offering unconditional love and support. A child who suffers from depression or anxiety would love to keep a therapy animal to help him connect to the outside world. Scientists have revealed that emotional support animals have greatly helped children dealing with physical or emotional stress to open up more to their parents. Therapy animals also cause children suffering from never-ending anxiety to react well to unexpected situations particularly in large crowds.
It doesn’t matter if such children participate in a particular animal-assisted therapy or keep a therapy animal as their pet. Both choices can help children undergoing anxiety concerns to improve their condition. There are various animals that are used in pet therapy. However, cats and dogs are more popular, owing to their calming effect. Almost all animals are capable of sensing an oncoming seizure, panic or heart attacks. This makes them beneficial companions for healing purposes as they provide comfort to their owners and handlers.
The physical contact a child receives with an animal can successfully diverts attention from his personal issues and concerns. These experiences help in releasing loving feelings and emotions that calm anxious nerves and soothe a child. Moreover, the responsibility of owning a therapy pet or dog helps a child to shift his focus away from anxiety and stress.
Although dogs offer excellent friendship and healing benefits; cats are equally effective therapy animals. It’s not really necessary that you get an officially certified therapy cat for your child for reducing elevated stress levels. Sometimes, keeping a cat as a pet is enough to help a child to overcome depression and anxiety symptoms.
Goldfish, parrots, ferrets and even snakes are also common ESA animals which are used as therapy pets. These gifts of nature are one of the best low-cost options for helping your children to overcome anxiety. Lizards make up loving therapy animals and are safe options for children. Geckos and iguanas are popular amongst teens for dealing with depression and curbing anxiety. Here are a few ways therapy animals can reduce anxiety.
Responsibility and Routine
Children who are anxious have a sense of lack of control. They feel that they cannot perform their daily tasks with perfection. Taking care of a therapy pet allows them to practice control and gives them a sense of responsibility. Dogs require a walk and cats need to be fed at several times a day. This routine gives them a sense of belonging and responsibility, which leads to better physical and mental activity. The sense of being important and needed helps children with anxiety to overcome a constant feeling of being lost.
If a depressed child finds it difficult to confront social situations such as attending a school party or participating in sports; keeping a therapy pet gives their self-confidence a much-needed boost. They feel responsible, important and learn to voice their opinion. They may also invite a few friends over for playing with their therapy pet.
Physical touch has been an important factor in healing practices. Children dealing with anxiety can use extra hugs and reassurance. Therapy pets such as a cat or a dog can provide just that. Even though parents, care givers and friends can also provide physical contact; the touch and acceptance that children get with their therapy pets brings incredibly beneficial results to beat anxiety.
The benefits of pet therapy are too many. That is why it is becoming a popular remedy for children who undergo anxiety, have trouble sleeping or making social contacts. These benefits are not restricted to casual interactions but leave a long-term impact on children to become more confident adults.
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