Adding a new pet to your household can be incredibly exciting, especially for your children, but it can also be a bit of a challenge.
While our pets wind up becoming members of our family, they are also a huge responsibility. One that mom may not have the time to take care of completely on her own 🙂
Fortunately, adding a new pet is the perfect opportunity to teach your children all about the responsibility that comes with being a pet owner!
Most children are more than happy to help out when it comes to getting a new four-legged friend, for a while at least. Once the new has worn off though, it can be a little harder to get them to follow through.
But don’t let that scare you away from pet ownership if you feel it is right for your family! Having a pet can teach your children some pretty amazing things like a sense of responsibility, compassion, loyalty, and yes, even social skills!
With a few simple strategies, you can teach your children to care for their new friend without making it seem like a chore.
Have your child make a pet care to-do list.
Or have them help you make one if they’re not quite old enough. Getting your child involved in the process of figuring out what their pet needs can go a long way in making them want to help. Talking through each point is also important.
If your child knows for example, that their pet’s boredom may end in chewed up toys, it makes understanding the need for a walk or some play time in the back yard a little easier to understand.
Make taking care of your pet an enjoyable experience.
Of course not every aspect of pet ownership is going to be a ton of fun, but teaching your children that their pets are their friends and that by taking care of them, they are helping them and that they can enjoy fun activities with them after those chores have been completed, they’ll be more inclined to make sure that their pet’s needs are met.
Make sure that everyone participates.
Again, having a pet is a huge responsibility and placing all of that onto a single person, especially a child, is a lot.
Once you and your child have your pet care to-do list, make a plan for the entire family and rotate who does what. If one person is taking care of making sure your pet has food and water this week, rotate and have them take care of cleanup or exercising the next week. Basically, make sure that no one gets stuck with the clean up job all of the time while someone else gets a much easier job like feeding all of the time.
Make sure their pet related chores are age appropriate.
While it’s important to make sure that everyone in the family participates, obviously you can’t have your 4 year old walk the dog. Have your toddler and preschool age children help you feed your pet or have them clean out the food dishes.
Once your child is school age, they can help with grooming your pet, walking them (if necessary), and cleaning up any accidents.
Speaking of those accidents, they’re bound to happen. Make sure your children know not to get angry with the animal for making a mess and make sure they know how to properly clean it up.
Easier said than done, I know. It can be easy to get frustrated while house training a pet but fortunately, Bounty makes it easy to conquer those messes so that you can forgive your 4 legged friends a little faster. In fact, in just seconds, Bounty can make that mess disappear.
They make it super easy to soak everything up and they’re perfect for teaching little ones to clean up after their pet. Just keep a roll within their reach (as long as they’re past the string it all over the house stage) and show them what to do.
Before long, you’ll have a child that is happy to help care for their pet because they truly are the best of friends.