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?