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Classroom “Doggie Dates” are Helping to Reduce Stress for Primary School Kids

By: Victoria Wong

A study by UK researchers found spending 20 minutes with a dog twice a week was better at lowering stress in students than classroom relaxation sessions such as meditation. Benefits of having the dogs in the classroom helped both kids in special needs schools and traditional ones as well.

Stress negatively affects a child’s learning, behavior, health, and wellbeing. This is why schools try a number of ways to reduce stress, like yoga, mindfulness, meditation, physical activity, and having animals in classrooms with the children.

The University of London studied 105, eight- and nine-year-olds in traditional schools and 44 children of a similar age in special needs schools in the UK. The children were randomly put into three groups: a group that spent time with a dog; a group that spent time doing relaxation sessions; and a group that did none of those things.

University of Lincoln researcher Kerstin Meints said the children in the dog group had “significantly lower” stress levels, while those in the relaxation and control groups were shown to have an increase in their stress levels over the time period.

Now researchers have found that dog- related breaks can help with lowering stress levels in kids. It helps them have better health and good energy to keep working. This is superior to normal meditation classes that are usually in place of ‘doggie dates’. Meditation classes have even shown to raise their stress level!


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