Is Your Child Ready to Take Care of a Pet?

Parnell (Admin) Maret Mar 22,2016 Comments(0) Likes(2) Parenting

Is Your Child Ready to Take Care of a Pet?


Having a pet is a wonderfully enriching experience that can bring great joy to a child and a family. When a child is given a pet to take care of, they learn compassion, patience, kindness, responsibility and gain a lifelong and memorable friend. However, to ensure your child is ready for a pet, it's important to discuss the expectations associated with pet ownership. For example, if your child leaves their toys in the rain and mindlessly leaves stuffed animals outside without a care, they may not be ready for a live pet.

Also, there should be parental involvement and a lot of discussions before you can determine whether or not your child is ready to take care of a pet. Many parents wonder how they will know when the time is right to give their child that cat, dog or hamster they've been requesting. Here are a few ideas to ponder as you decide if your child is ready to take on pet ownership:


  1. Talk about it. Before you have a pet, it's important to make sure your child understands the responsibility that’s involved when taking care of an animal.  Discuss things such as feeding, bathing, exercise, cleaning up after the pet, and the primary care that a living creature requires for a high quality of life. Be sure to engage and play out scenarios such as what to do if the dog scratches to go outside – otherwise, you may have a mess on your hands.


  1. Choose Wisely.  Once you’ve established that your child is ready for their own pet, choose an appropriate special friend for your family’s circumstances. For example, if you live in an apartment and aren’t often home, a smaller pet like a hamster or more self-sufficient pet such as a cat may be better suited for a child than a large dog.



Children who are raised with pets reap many benefits of having a relationship with a favorite pal.  Here are a couple of benefits for getting a child a pet:


1.    Friendship. A pet can be a child's confidant when things are rough at home or school.  


2.    Confidence. Kids raised with pets can gain higher self-esteem and learn confidence by seeing the fruit of their labor come to fruition, such as hearing a kitty purr, or a dog wagging its tail for a treat. 


3.    Responsibility. When a child is in charge of feeding, caring for and cleaning up after their pet, they are learning responsibility.


4.     Empathy.   When a child learns to care for something other than themselves, they are learning the invaluable skill of empathy.


5.    Communication. Children who have pets learn the cues of non-verbal communication, such as tail wagging to mean happiness or a growl indicating that the animal isn’t enjoying the experience.


6.    Exercise. A pet can help a child get more exercise since they spend time outside to walk a dog daily and move about playing with a pet.


Having a positive relationship with a special lifetime friend helps children develop trusting relationships later in life. Pets can bring joy, friendship and teach children about compassion, accountability, communication and encourage exercise.  The key to a positive experience for your child with a pet is to make sure they are ready by discussing the expectations of pet ownership.



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