Children love playing with pets. However, there’s a lot of responsibility involved in owning a cat or a dog they might not be accustomed to.
Prepare your child for pet ownership with five simple tips
Right now, let us take a close and detailed look at five ways to prepare your child for pet ownership.
#1 Smaller pets first
To start things off, it’s not a bad idea for your child to start with a smaller pet that requires less maintenance. For example, you might start with goldfish that only need to be fed on a daily basis. Every once in a while, they can change out the water in the bowl as well. Once your child is comfortable with these minor responsibilities, they can graduate to a more intensive pet such as a cat or dog. You should also consider the breed of the pet. Certain breeds require much more responsibility, so you want to plan accordingly.
#2 Teach about equipment
Next, teach your child about the equipment used to handle this pet. Show them how to open and close the cage and swap out the pet’s water bottle. While this might seem like common sense, you don’t want them to be clueless about any of the supplies. If the pet is a dog, make them familiar with how to control a dog pulling harness while outdoors. Harnesses can be tricky to handle at first. While they are designed to give the owner control, things can quickly get out of hand if the pet becomes agitated. In your backyard, you can show your child how they need to be confident when managing the pet.
#3 Examples of friends
Use your child’s friends to set a good example. If your child’s best friend is responsible for his or her dog, use this as a learning experience during the next playdate. Emphasize how this friend is very careful with the pet and treats it with the utmost care. Your child will have an incentive to get into these good habits on their own. Moreover, humans are naturally compassionate beings. Your child will want to make sure that their pet receives special treatment like none other. Here, it’s a good idea to coordinate something with the parent of the friend.
#4 Chores around the home
You can also instill a sense of responsibility in other regards. Make sure your child has their fair share of chores around the home that need to be completed in a timely manner. If they can handle these chores, there’s a very good chance they will also treat a pet responsibly. Although it’s definitely a leap from folding clothes to taking care of a live pet, it’s a good transition to make. Your child will incrementally take on more responsibilities without getting overloaded. At the same time, you’ll be able to monitor them and see whether they have any struggles.
#5 Work together
Last but not least, emphasize to your child that you are going to work together. The pet isn’t going to be their full responsibility at all times. You’ll do your part in feeding, cleaning and playing with the pet. When your child is aware that it’s not an extreme burden, they’ll have a positive outlook on taking on these responsibilities. In particular, you can make a checklist with their responsibilities and yours. When your child walks downstairs to the kitchen every morning, they’ll be able to see the pet-related tasks that they need to take care of.
In conclusion, these are a couple of great ways to prepare your child for the responsibility of a pet. When your child knows how to take care of the pet, it’s a better experience for everyone involved. Follow these tips to instill a lifelong sense of responsibility.
About the Writer: Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.