How to Teach Your Kids to Take Care of Pets
Many families also include pets. In fact, it’s estimated that over half of all households in America own either a dog or a cat. Considering there’s over 100 million households in the U.S., there’s a large number of people who also own pets and have a family. For many families, a pet is in addition to other members of the household, such as a spouse and children.
When you have kids in the house, it’s important they know how to take care of pets. Not only does it teach them responsibility and character, but it also gives them the chance to feel like they’re contributing something to the household. If you’re wondering about how you can teach your kids to better and properly take care of pets, here are some tips.
Start with the Small but Important Stuff
Even if your kid’s grown up with pets, you might not have had them take care of anything related to your pet’s health or well-being. You’ll want to start with the small things that are also important, such as feeding them on a regular schedule or even potty breaks and walks, especially if you own a dog.
Teach your kids how to handle their dog collar and leash set. Even if it’s a simple mechanism, it can still be intimidating for a child to learn to use. They’ll have to get used to your dog potentially fidgeting or seeming excited to go out or even distracted by other people around. You’ll have to teach them commands just like you would your dog.
For very young children, teaching them how to feed your pet is a huge step in their child development. Just like when teaching them how to cook or do things in the kitchen, you can measure out your pet’s food but have your child pour the pre-measured food into the bowl. Teach them balance by having them carry the water bowl from the sink to your pet’s mat.
Make it a Routine
Children learn best with routines. It’s part of their development as humans. Create a routine for your child to help them learn how to best take care of pets. If you want them to help with feeding, get them up in enough time to be awake and aware as they help to measure out and feed your pet. If you want them to help with walking your dog, you might need to adjust the times to when your kid gets home from school or any after school activities they do. Making a routine is also good for your pet, so this is a great solution for everyone involved.
Include them in Vet Visits
As your child gets older, why not include them in vet visits? Whether you’re just taking them on the drop-off car ride or they go with you to the actual vet visit, their attendance will go a long way in learning more about what it takes to really take care of a pet. They can learn more about what a vet does and how they can really help in taking care of a pet. Your pet’s vet would probably also love the opportunity to teach them more about what they do — it might even inspire a career choice for your kids!
Know There Will Be Setbacks
It’s not easy to teach your kids to take care of pets. They’ll spill things and potentially hurt themselves or your pet and there will be lots of tears. Knowing there will be setbacks is just one of the many ways you can help to ensure teaching your kids to take care of pets goes a bit more smoothly. When you expect things to be a bit bumpy, you’ll get less angry or less concerned. Try to take steps that will give you some added cushion when things go a bit wrong, such as investing in a Tile for pets that can help you track your dog’s location if they accidentally get away from your kid while out on a walk.
Patience Is Key
It takes time to teach your kids to properly take care of pets. They aren’t going to get it overnight or immediately. Many kids don’t know how to recognize the many emotions of an animal, especially since they aren’t always able to communicate well themselves. If this is the first time you’re bringing a pet into the home, and your children didn’t grow up with a pet around for the first few years of their life, then it might take even longer to adjust. Remaining patient is something that you can practice to really ensure that you, your kids and your pet feel safe.
One of the great parts of owning a pet is that you get to involve the kids in their care. Just as you’re taking care of your kids, your kids can help to take care of your pet. It’s something the family can enjoy together.
Whether you take your pet on family vacations or you simply spend lots of time cuddling with them on the couch every night, there are lots of ways you can make teaching your kids to take care of pets fun and exciting. Having them help exercise your pet by playing fetch or going with them to the groomers are just some of the ways you can encourage them to learn about taking care of pets. And, sure, your kids might grow up to decide they don’t want to own any pets, but at least they’ll know how! It’ll add something extra to the way they navigate the world, giving them a sense of responsibility and care for others.