Caring for pets responsibly and lovingly is something your children can learn early on. Other than the love and the companionship that pets bring, there are several other reasons you may want to consider having one. For starters, caring for pets teach kids responsibility and accountability. Also, becoming responsible pet owners at a young age teaches your kids several other life lessons that help them become responsible adults in other aspects of their lives. Some of the ways to teach children responsible pet ownership include:
Give Your Child Ownership
Taking ownership is a great way for kids to learn responsible pet ownership. Start by putting your children in charge of the pet, and allowing them to be part of simple decisions like the pet’s name, food, accessories, toys, and even help you do research on pet care online. Kids can also help care for the pet when they are sick by taking routine veterinary appointments. These tasks will make your child feel valued, which makes them want to participate even more.
Help Your Child Anticipate Consequences
It’s important to teach kids how to stay safe and healthy when caring for their favorite animals. This is because pets can react in different ways to the surrounding environment, some of which could be harmful. For example, they can learn how to use a thermometer to maintain a stable aquarium water temperature to prevent temperature shock from harming their pet fish. You can also point out the importance of keeping food out the pet’s reach, not to mention, how keeping their surroundings tidy can help maintain the pet’s health and safety.
Keep High Expectations
When the goldfish or puppy is still new, your child will do anything to care for it. But as time goes by, the excitement dies and it’s easy for them to relax and let the grown-ups do all the work. Make sure kids understand your expectations and meet them at all times. If you have family pets, you can set age-appropriate expectations, for example, the 3-year old can feed the puppy, a 5-year old can walk and clean the puppy, and older kids may enjoy training pets.
Encourage Your Child to Financially Support the Pet
Kids can learn financial responsibility from an early age. It’s reasonable enough to ask them to help with the pet’s upkeep. For the younger kids, you can encourage them to use some of their birthday money to purchase a toy they can use together with the pet. Older kids can earn some money by doing extra chores. You can encourage them to spare some cash for the pet, for instance, take training classes on how to care for their favorite animal.