Generally speaking, kids love pets. However, this does not mean that children automatically know how to interact with pets properly. The same goes with pets. It is important for parents and adult guardians to know about some of the issues regarding kids and pets. The following are a few key aspects to consider when it comes to pet care and getting kids and pets to interact with one another.
Analyzing the Situation
Before you introduce a pet to your kids or the other way around, you must first consider your existing situation. For parents with several young children or pets in the family, adding one more to the mix can bring more strain as it means additional responsibilities. Even in cases where in the child asks for a pet, adults are expected to take care of the pet just as much, if not more, than their kids. Allowing a kid over the age of seven to have his/her own pet can help teach the child to be responsible and compassionate towards animals. However, kids are not fully aware of their responsibilities yet and it will take time before that happens. Most of the time, it will be the adults who will be responsible for the pets.
Picking the Right Pet
It is important to note that although there are types of pets that are common in the home, it does not mean that they are suited for every type of situation or environment. Kids pose a unique set of challenges that can also bring stress to an animal. The age and personality of a child may also mean indicate whether the child is cut out to having a pet. When choosing a pet, it is better to choose a younger one, such as a pup or kitten after it has been fully weaned. This would allow your pet to become accustomed to socializing with people.
Introducing a Pet into the Family
Before bringing a new pet into the home, it is important to sit down with your kids about how to treat your pet. Write a set of house rules and place it on an area where it can be easily seen, such as the refrigerator. Supervise all interactions between your pets and children. This is especially important when introducing a pet for the first time. Keep play times short for the next few weeks to get both sides accustomed to each other.
Introducing a New Child into a Family With Pets
In most cases, pets tend to do well when an infant is brought into a home. Take the time to play with your infant and pet to make sure that neither one feels neglected. Infants do not interact much with pets. Most problems arise when the infant becomes a toddler and he/she starts moving around and touching your pet. An infant or toddler will not be able to understand that pets need time alone as well. Supervision is necessary until your toddler learns about simple commands.
• Keep your pet and kid’s toys separate. Your child’s toys may not be safe for your pet and vice versa.
• Remove any toy or device that could make a loud bang such as a balloon. Your child and pet may get frightened by the noise produced. The damaged item can also become a safety hazard, especially when chewed on or swallowed.
• Learn to identify signs when the child or pet wants to end the play session. This is especially true with larger pets such as cats or dogs.
These are only some of the guidelines which can help your kids and pets safe. Remember that kids, in particular, get their cues from how you treat your pets so you need to be aware of how you interact with your pets as well. Once they get used to each other’s presence and company, it will become easier for them to develop a bond that could last a lifetime.