If you're choosing a daycare for your child, you may be wondering if you should choose a home daycare with a dog. As long as the dog is trained and well-behaved around children, there can actually be a lot of advantages to spending time with a dog. Here are just some of the benefits your child may experience from going to daycare services with a dog.
1. Pets Are Emotionally Beneficial for Children
Daycare should be more than just a place to spend time. It should be a place where your child can grow emotionally. A pet, in particular, can teach your child empathy and confidence. Children who spend time with dogs at home or daycare can also develop a foundation of unconditional love that will likely stay with your child throughout his or her life.
To illustrate a case of how dogs can be emotionally helpful, imagine a child who is shy going to a daycare for the first time. He or she may not be bold enough to approach other kids, but he or she can easily go up to the dog, pet the dog, and spend time with it. That helps break the ice and ease the child comfortably into the situation.
2. Dogs Can Help With Literacy
Dogs may never read, and they can't teach your child his or her ABC's, but in spite of that fact, dogs can be a valuable part of the literacy process. In one study, a group of 2nd graders spent time reading to dogs. After several sessions, the children felt more confident and positive about reading. If the daycare has a dog and a shelf of books, your child might experience the same benefits.
3. Children Who Spend Time With Dogs Are Less Likely to Develop Allergies
It's not just elementary students who can benefit from spending time with dogs. In fact, being around a dog on a regular basis can even have benefits for a baby. In particular, researchers have found that babies who are around dogs have fewer allergies as they get older than other kids.
4. Petting Dogs Reduce Stress Levels
Childhood can be stressful in some cases, but a dog can help. Research shows that petting a dog lowers the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body. At the same time, it also increases dopamine and serotonin levels. Those are basically the brain's happy hormones. If you want a happy, relaxed kid, this is a great option to consider.
5. You Get the Benefits of a Dog Without the Work
Finally, by having a dog at daycare, your child gets to enjoy all the benefits listed above and more, but you don't have to take care of the dog. If your life isn't ready for a dog yet, you may want to find a daycare that has one.