Tips For Parents: How To Help Your Children Take Care Of Their Pets


Owning a pet can bring a lot of joy to everyone involved in the process. This is especially true if a household has children and they want a furry friend to play around with. More importantly, having one can teach your children how to be responsible, which is an extremely important trait to develop from a young age. As a parent, you are probably wondering whether getting a pet is the right decision. If you follow the tips below to ensure your children can keep up with this responsibility, then there is nothing to worry about.

1. Observe Their Behavior with Animals

Before buying one, you should first figure out whether your children are comfortable dealing with animals or not. Instead of rushing to buy a pet and later discarding it, take time to expose your children to situations where pets are present. You can also take them to a local animal shelter to find out if they will enjoy having a domesticated animal around or not. This is a great way to observe how well they behave around animals and whether you should get a pet of your own or wait a little longer.

2. Include Them in the Selection Process

When you feel like your children are open to the idea of having a furry friend, you can start the selection process. There are many choices available depending on your preference, the space you have, and how much care you can give.

Many people automatically think of dogs and cats when considering buying a pet, however, there are other animals including snakes, turtles, fish, and even lizards. Of course, the choice will depend on what you and your children find interesting. 

Snakes, for instance, are less likely to be chosen as pets by most people. That may be the case for some, although the reptile professionals at state that pet snakes are great if you want an animal with less movement and have a consistent diet. Including your children in the selection process is important to ensure that they feel invested. When your children feel like they are taking part in the choice, they are more likely to follow through on relevant chores such as cleaning up and feeding it.

3. Make Children Fully Understand the Concept

As mentioned above, owning a pet is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Before buying a pet, sit down with your children and discuss the different roles and responsibilities they will be expected to take on. They need to be aware that it is a living thing that needs constant care and attention. Discussing this in detail will give your kids an idea of what they are signing up for. You can even give them a plant to take care of first. If they take good care of the plant, then they are up to the challenge of having the actual animal. However, if they neglect the plant and it dies, you may want to reconsider the idea.

4. Include Them in Relevant Chores

A great way to promote responsibility when it comes to having a pet is including children in chores. Having a list of tasks assigned to each family member will ensure that everyone is aware of what their roles are. When distributing tasks, take into consideration how old your children are. The younger they are, the simpler the tasks should be. A great task to give younger kids is feeding a pet. It is easy to do and they will feel a great sense of achievement. This will motivate them and increase their sense of responsibility.

5. Enforce Rules to Protect Both Children and Pets

The most important factor to keep in mind when you consider getting a pet is the rules in place to protect not only the animal but also your children. Pets, like any animal out there, will attack anyone if they feel threatened. Your children may not mean any harm, but if they startle the pet while it is eating or they bother it constantly, it may scratch them or lash out. 

Having rules in place stating how your children can interact with their pet, and when they should leave it alone can help you avoid these issues completely. Sometimes children do not fully understand that the animal is not a toy that they can throw around, but you definitely do not want them to learn this lesson the hard way.

Using these 5 different tips, it is safe to say that your children are ready for a new pet to join your household. Remember that with time, your children will be able to handle this responsibility better. If you feel like your children are too young to get one, then it is better to wait rather than take the plunge and have to give up their pet later on.


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