The quintessential perfect house will always have a white picket fence, two kids and a couple of pets. Be it a dog, a cat, couple of fishes in a bowl, or maybe a pet hamster - a child with a pet can never be lonely. A house with a pet is livelier, more loving, and overall a happier place more often than not. There are so many ways a pet can help a child; the list is endless.
- Pets give the children company when a parent is unable to spend time due to work commitments.
- Kids with pets go out more - for walks and play, hence keeping them healthy and in shape. In this Digital era, it is important that the children have reasons to go out, and get the Vitamin D that their body so desperately needs. With a pet, they ensure the fun is had under the sun!
- They teach children responsibility and let them practise the role of a ‘caregiver’ at an early age.
- Pets are a source of great happiness to children - they keep the kids’ fitter with all the play, and keep the blood pressure down.
- Pets can forge bonds with their owners and be lifelong companions, providing comfort and security.
- Pets can be a great way for families to bond by undertaking activities together - family dog walks are actually a thing!
- Kids will always have a cuddle buddy to play with!
Parents are often on the fence about getting pets, even with their kids pleading with them. While kids only see the good part of getting a pet, the parents see what it can actually mean, more work! As lovely as pets are, they do add to the workload of the house with the care and attention they need.
But having pets can also be a learning curve for your child. Caring for a pet can teach your child responsibilities, respect, develop trust, foster feelings of companionship and much more. It gives them a first-hand experience at being a caregiver. It is also important that your family chooses the right pet for themselves.
Making sure that your child understands and is able to undertake the responsibility falls on the parent. Here are some ways you can ensure that you pick the best pet for your family and ensure that you children learn how to handle their pets properly.
- Understand the needs of different animals and decide which fits you the best. If you have a family that travels frequently, maybe a low maintenance animal like fish is a better option as you can tell your neighbour to feed the fish if you’re travelling without much trouble. If you have kids who like to run around, an open space, and a family who loves to play around, maybe a dog would fit you better. Weigh how much time you and your family can give your pet before making a decision.
- Make sure your kids understand the responsibilities they’ll understate. Adopting or buying a pet is no small feet, because you’re agreeing to take care of another living being. Some pets can be a handful, while some are low maintenance. It is important that your children understand the job they’re understanding when they ask for a pet. Speak to them about the kind of work they’ll have. For ex - if you’re adopting a dog your kids will be in charge of feeding him, taking him on walks, bathing him, cleaning up his droppings amongst other responsibilities.
- Divide up the chores. If you have multiple kids, make sure that the work is divided up between all the siblings and no single person is stuck with everything. Have a chart or a plan throughout the week which clearly states which person in the household will be undertaking which task. The fun chores, like walking the pet in case it’s a dog or feeding it, should always have a rotation, once to every person!
- Gently remind the kids if they lapse in their duties. Making them feel guilty won’t help anybody. Children at a young age can hardly take care of their own personal space. So instead of chiding them, encourage them to do better.
Animals can be a brilliant addition to any family - they bring with them happiness. A child growing up with a pet will absorb positive qualities from their time spent together! So, don’t fear, bring that extra cuteness in your house and adopt a pet!