Did your child already ask you for a pet? If they did not, those questions would come up eventually. Before saying no, think about the benefits your kid might get from having a pet, like a companionship, responsibility, and compassion. These are all valuable lessons your child will carry for the rest of their lives.
If you are thinking about getting a family pet, there are certain things you need to consider. For example, is your house pet-friendly, and are your children ready to take care of an animal. Having a pet can be a rewarding experience for the whole family if everyone is prepared for their share of chores. Here are some tips on getting a pet for your kids.
Do your research
You must do detailed research when it comes to getting a pet. Consider the size of your home, do you live in an apartment, and, of course, which pet your child wants. If you live in an apartment, getting a dog might not be the best idea, since they require a lot of space and play area, getting a smaller pet is the best thing to do. Consider their life expectancy. Is your family ready to be there for an animal for as long as they live (which can be up to and over twenty years)? Take everything into consideration; your lifestyle, especially. If you travel a lot or work extra hours and if your kids have a lot of extracurriculars, it may be hard to give a pet what it requires.
Make it fun and engaging
You have to explain to your children that their new pet is also a living being and needs care and nurture. Show them how to handle the pet, how to feed them, and clean after them. Do it in a fun and entertaining way, so your kids will want to participate. Singing while brushing a puppy or a kitty is one example. Depending on your child’s age, they may not be able to do all the chores, like cleaning a fish tank or walking the dog by themselves, but having them with you while you do it will instill the responsibility and empathy from an early age.
After the initial period passes, your children’s interest will loosen up, but this is normal, they are still children, after all. The best thing to do is to teach them not to take it as a chore, but rather as nurturing another living being. The responsibility of taking care of the pet might fall on your shoulder eventually but insist that they help every time. Maybe they won’t take the initiative in cleaning the cage or the litter box, but they will do it if you ask them to.
Dealing with loss
If you have a pet that lives for a short time, it is inevitable that your children will encounter the death of their best furry or fluffy friend. Even if you have a cat or a bird, they might get sick. For a lot of people, a pet is more like a family member, and dealing with loss can cause intense feelings of loss and grief. Help your kids by explaining to them what it means to die and offer a lot of emotional support during the grief period. Listen to them and answer all of their questions, and even hold a proper burial for the pet, which may be comforting to your child and help them say goodbye.
If you are uncertain about which pet to get for your child, aside from cats and dogs, take into consideration guinea-pigs. Their playful and social personality will make your kids adore them. But they do require a bit more upkeep because they like to kick their shavings out of the cage.