From a young age children tend to start asking if they can have pets, even if they already have one or more at home. This could be anything from a dog or cat to a goldfish or rabbits… there are so many different possibilities. Before giving in and agreeing to get a new pet it’s important to consider who will be doing all of the work. Here are some ideas for how to help children have responsibility with a new pet.
Choosing the pet
Children definitely want to be involved in the decisions when it comes to pets. If you want your child to have responsibility once you bring your new pet home then it’s so important to make sure they have had some say in the final decision. This could mean your child helping to choose the type of pet or maybe taking them to help pick the particular animal. Even at a young age, children will have an idea in their heads about what kind of pet they want.
Pets need a lot before you’ve even brought them home and this is something that children might not understand. It would be a good idea to sit down with your child beforehand and talk about the needs of your chosen animal. For example, you could talk about how often they need feeding, if they need any particular exercise and any appointments at the vets that they might need. I’m sure most children won’t know all of the things and time that goes into having a pet.
Take them shopping
A great way to get children really involved before your new pet comes home is to take them shopping when you get everything you might need. It might only seem like a small thing to us but letting a child pick out things like food and water bowls, bedding or maybe a collar and lead will help them to feel really involved and like their opinion really matters. Children are much more likely to want to help feed pets if they have picked out the bowls themselves.
Explain what having a pet means
Children might not be so keen to get a pet once they realise that you, their parents, won’t do absolutely everything for them. You might want to give your child the responsibility of cleaning out a pet (such as a hamster) or feeding animals such as cats and dogs. It’s so important for children to realise that they might have to really take care of this animal all of the time and not just when they feel like it.
Enjoy the new member of the family
When the new member of the family does finally join you at home be sure you and your child spend a lot of time caring for them. Obviously, you can’t exactly play with a goldfish but be sure to talk about what the new pet needs with your child and include them in as many aspects of day to day life as you can.
Have you got pets? Do your children help to take care of them?