Your child is begging for a puppy. He promises to feed the dog and clean up the poop. But after two days, guess who is cleaning up the land mines in the backyard and filling up the dog dish? But before you give in and take over, think of the opportunity you have to teach your child about responsibility, love, and respect. Although it takes some time and work to teach children how to care for pets, it’s well worth the effort.
Of course, responsibilities you assign will depend on the child’s age. Children as young as two or three can be taught simple chores like changing a water bowl or filling a food dish at night. Teaching your child to respect their pet is also important. At this age, they can be taught how to play gently with a pet without pulling ears or tail, or poking their eyes. With young children, supervision is definitely needed.
If you have a young child, you may want to consider a pet like a fish, bird, reptile, or hamster as their first pet, which requires less maintenance. These pets don’t need to be house trained and they don’t chew furniture, but will teach your child lessons in feeding and cleaning.
if you decide to get a pet for your child, here’s a few tips to keep in mind:
- Talk to your child about their responsibilities. Decide exactly what your child’s chores will be. Be willing to negotiate. For example, maybe you’ll agree to clean up after the pet if your child agrees to brush the pet.
- Keep in mind, walking the dog may be a great opportunity for you to spend some quality time together.
- Try making a chart that explains your child’s chores. Use the reward system, putting a stick or star on a completed chore. Give them a prize for every five stars they earn, maybe a movie out or pizza night.
- Taking care of an animal shouldn’t be all work and no play. Not only should children have responsibilities like poop scooping and feeding, but should also take part in fun activities like petting and playing with the pet.
- Young teens can learn how to teach a dog some simple tricks. This involves patience and persistence, great qualities to instill in your children.
- Larger animals, like goats, lambs, or a horse, require even more detailed care. Before agreeing to this acquisition, get your children a few books on caring for this type of animal. Or enroll them in a pet care class, like those provided by the 4-H organization. Ensure they understand all the duties that accompany a pet of greater size.
- Know beforehand, your child will need to be reminded of their responsibilities. Children need repetition. Try to resist the temptation to do the chore yourself unless your child is very young.
Children learn so much from pets, it is well worth the effort to teach them to care for them. With supervision, time, and patience your child can learn to be a responsible pet caretaker.
For the best in wholesome and natural baby products take a look at Tender Cargo. The family owned baby website offers a large selection of baby carriers including the popular Beco baby carrier.