Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Teaching Your Child to Take Care of a New Pet


While this blog primarily belongs to Madison, I have been having a great time sharing my parenting tips with you. Today I want to share something that most parents have to deal with. As you are aware we have some new members in our family. If you haven't seen them you may want to check out our post. With new pets comes responsibilities. Are your children begging you to let them keep that cute little puppy or kitten? Bringing home a new pet is a joyful occasion, but it also means a lot of responsibility. Although as the parent, you’ll be the primary caregiver, trust me I know, but you shouldn't be expected to do everything. If you’re adding a pet to your family, here are some great tips for teaching your kids to help take care of your new pet.

Set Some Rules

A pet is a big responsibility for the entire family. The best way to make sure your children are caring for your pet the right way is to set some rules. These rules should include everyday routines, as well as how to handle the pet. Do you want your child picking your pet up all the time? When should your pet be fed or walked? Once you have the rules in place, be consistent and help your children remember what’s expected.

Start with One Job

If this is your family’s first time owning a pet, your children probably have no clue what’s all involved in the process. There are many daily and weekly tasks that need to be taken care of with any kind of pet, and this can quickly get overwhelming for any person. Instead of giving your children complete responsibility in caring for your new pet, start with giving each child just one job. These jobs could be feeding your new pet in the morning, cleaning up messes and spills, or even being responsible for playtime. Choose one job that’s appropriate for each child’s age and responsibility level and let them get used to that task.

Help Your Child

Do your children actually know what their job means? The first few days you have a pet, help your children learn the ins and outs of their jobs. This could mean showing them how much food to scoop into the bowl or demonstrating how to play properly with your pet. After showing your children how the job is done, let them take over. You’ll be amazed at how dedicated your children will be to doing it right!

Involve Them in Decisions

Anyone that’s responsible for the well-being of a pet should also be involved in any important decisions, including your children. Your children can help make decisions like which collar and leash to use, where the pet’s bed will be, and even which veterinarian you’ll take your pet to. The more decisions you involve your children in, the more responsible they’ll feel when it comes to your family pet.

Build a Relationship

This is one of the most important steps in teaching your children to take care of a new pet! When your children and pet build a relationship, they will be more apt to want to help out. Letting your children and pet play together or sleep in the same room are great bonding activities. This will let them get used to each other and start depending on each other, building a beautiful relationship that will last for years!


A new pet is a lot of responsibility, but it’s definitely worth it. This can be a great learning experience for your kids, and will teach them important life lessons on responsibility and friendship.

What are some ways you involved your children in caring for a pet?


35 comments:

  1. I remember as a kid wanting a new cat or dog and we were lucky enough to be able to have them. Our parents made it very clear that we are to take care of them. Now as an adult I am all about no pets. Haha. I love em but I can go without. Plus I am more into reptiles then anything, lol. But I did love my pets and I took care of them because my parents made it clear that they would be gone if I didnt care for them. It is a great way to teach children how to be responsible.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

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  2. we do not own any pets, I can't keep up with the mess the kids make so until they shape up and start pulling more weight around here I refuse to get a pet, too much pet hair flys around and I'm not going to spend my day cleaning after it if they can't be bothered to help. Now my guys help and get the basics but my 7 year old I think needs to be a little bit older and more mature before I bring another living thing into this house to create any more messes lol

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  3. We just got our dog, Milo, in December. He was our first "real" pet (other than fish and hermit crabs). My boys love scooping his food into his bowl for him and taking him for walks.

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  4. Where was this post when my 6 year old then 4 year old convinced me to buy him a puppy. I got him a chocolate lab and then he left for 2 months and he came back the dog was huge and he didn't want to have anything to do with it.

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  5. Totally great tips and the girls got to pick out Elsa's collar, leash, bowl and so much more when we first got her. They also help with feeding her and they of course love to hang out and play with her, too :)

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  6. These are really great tips.My kids have always grown up with a lot of animals.They have a rota who feeds which animal and when,who helps me clean out the larger animals and who helps me walk the dogs.They choose gifts for all the animals on their birthdays and christmas too lol.

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  7. This is a very nice post! I have a different situation at home - pet was already there when my son was born. He still thinks she (the cat) is his friend more like a pet :)


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    1. We have a cat and she's is pretty low maintenance. Kids an give her water and then feed her (they over feed though and she won't eat food that's been out a few hours unless we're out for the day). I couldn't do a dog because they require a lot of time.

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  8. I used to love helping to take care of the cat when I was a kid - I used to help with giving her some food and a brush - she used to steal my watsits and I remember finding that hysterical lol x

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  9. I think it is good that the kids learn how to help take care of the pet if you have one! We've started getting our boys more involved in taking care of the pets. They have small jobs right now and as they show responsibility in them; we will turn more of the tasks over to them.

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  10. We don't have any pets. However we had a dog when I was little, and I always had some part in his care. I think even the youngest of kids can do simple tasks and begin to learn about the responsibility of pet ownership.

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  11. you are so right, pets are a wonderful thing for the entire family, and we all have to prepare accordingly.
    responsibility and caring for others have no equal when learning via a pet

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  12. We have fish. Not a large pet but we let my girls feed them and help with the decorations.

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  13. Our dog died last year and pets are hard thing because they become like family, closer than some family. Kids should have a pet but there is so much responsibility that they don't even realize and vet bills, eeeek...

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  14. Son is responsible for cleaning the litter box when it gets full or needs it. He has been doing great about it so far.

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  15. This is a great post. My children all help with out dogs, from taking them out to bathing and feeding them.

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  16. My kids need to let the dog out to use the bathroom and they have to feed our pooch. I think it gives them responsibility.

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  17. Des isn't very good with our kittens and puppy! We are trying to teach him to be gentle but I guess it's not in the two-year-old boy way. Scarlet has been so helpful with the puppy and has even taken on her own responsibilities. I love when she retrieves her from her crate and refills her water bowl.

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  18. I was fortunate as a kid, I had so many pets! I would go out for a walk and bring them home. LOL But, if they had no home they needed a home! My dad thought for sure I'd be a vet. Nope. Didn't happen.

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  19. I don't have any pets because I feel my daughters are too young. Although everyone says this is the perfect age, I'm afraid they will fight over it. They fight so much as it is. I might wait a little bit longer.

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  20. We liked to take family outings when walking the dog. We used to chatter on about everything as we struggled to maintain control of our pup.lol She was beagle and man, her nose would get her going!

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  21. So important for kids to take responsibility for pets. I remember when my kids were little and our 130 pound Newfoundland pretty much used to walk them!

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  22. These are all really great tips and suggestions. We have had 4 dogs over the course of the last 21 years...3 large dogs at the same time for about 5 years. We always encouraged our kids to treat the pets like they were family and they did. They were assigned responsibilities and they took them seriously which always made me pleased. When are two older ones passed away several years ago, we were all very sad but my adults sons took it harder than I thought they would.

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  23. These are great ideas. We have two dogs and a toddler so we have to set boundaries.

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  24. My boss just got a new puppy and her son with down syndrome is right there with alongside everyone else with the dog trainer, learning how to train the dog. He is a huge animal lover! The house that I am dog sitting for now has a chore list up on the wall and each child has a chore that includes the dog.

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  25. These are really great tips. I keep telling hubby that I don't want to get a pet until we can have the kids help take care of it for sure. It sounds like these would be great to implement in the care of the pets and that great life lessons can come out of it, too. :)

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  26. Really great tips! I have been thinking about getting me a kitten but since I don't have any kids the responsibility will be mine alone. I do have niece and nephews that come to visit and I'm sure they'll love to help out but in the end it will be all me.

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  27. I feel like such a bad mom! We have two dogs- both over 10 and when they pass on- it will be a while before I am ready to be a pet owner again. I hope that my kids will be understanding:(

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  28. I feel like such a bad mom! We have two dogs- both over 10 and when they pass on- it will be a while before I am ready to be a pet owner again. I hope that my kids will be understanding:(

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  29. This is a great post. I have often thought about when my child wants a puppy because I know that day will come...it gives me heartburn, but these are some good tips.

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  30. We had three dogs when my oldest was born. They have always been great with my kids, they get along great :) I think having pets is a great way to teach kids responsibility. My oldest has been nagging me for a fish :)

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  31. Great tips! So important. Takes patience while you're responsible for them being responsible for something else.

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  32. Awesome tips. When my niece first encounter a pet - not knowing what it is - she grabbed it like some toy and tossed it out >.< I dunno what to think - if she was brave or ruthless. But a kid is a kid, now she is more caring to animals. :)

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  33. My cat just had kittens on July 21, and my kids aren't the best at not touching them or picking them up. But, they get cat food in dish for the mama cat and such for me sometimes, but I haven't started the babies on canned food yet but we did buy some today for them.

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  34. We don't have a pet of our own but we do pet sit and it is a great, fulfilling experience, and a teaching one, too. Children can learn from the responsibility of taking care of the pets, but also from the pet's personality, too!

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