Being a responsible fur parent is not easy, and it does take a lot of effort and time to make sure you give the fur baby the love they deserve. That is why we understand the pressure when your child asks for a pet. You instantly think, are they ready for this? It is a huge responsibility.
How Can Pets Impact A Child’s Life?
Giving your child the responsibility of looking after a pet is one of the most active ways to teach them to be responsible individuals.
Having a pet also builds their confidence and self-esteem to build more sustainable relationships with other people. When kids have a positive relationship with their pets, they learn how to positively handle situations with their peers as well.
One of the best outcomes of having successful management of pets in children is they start to grow compassion, empathy and understanding of life and their surroundings. Creating awareness of life is something that you can’t easily teach a child, but it comes to them when they explore, experience life themselves and learns how the world works.
How Can Children Learn How To Be Responsible Pet Owners?
1) Help them understand the responsibilities of having a pet.
The moment children ask if they can have pets, they do not fully understand the tasks they need to do because of owning one. They usually think it’s all fun and games until they have to pick up ‘poo’ and mop the ‘pee’ off the floor. Aside from that, they will need to know where to properly dispose of the faeces and wash the mop they used. While reading this, I’m sure you can also feel the pressure of what needs to constantly be done.
So, break down the different tasks and the cost of having a pet to your child so they understand. Like people, pets need doctor visits as well. They need vaccinations. Some pets have specific food preferences, this is one of the challenging parts of owning a pet.
2) Give them a rough list of what needs to be done in taking care of their pet.
This may seem like spoon-feeding them on what to do, but it’s also one of the best ways to teach them what to do. You may need to repeat what needs to be done through routine work, but they will get the hang of it with repetitive guidance.
After doing some tasks, always go back to them and evaluate how they feel about doing these tasks. Not everyone is keen to do the dirty job of looking after pets, so you must know how they feel about getting their hands dirty. If they are keen and determined, this is one of the checks off your list that your child is ready to be a pet parent themselves.
3) Help them set a routine to properly manage their time.
Aside from teaching your child the tasks they need to consistently do, it is also important that they manage their time to do other things. Time management is a huge part of being a responsible individual, and when your child gets a pet, they should still have time to complete other tasks and hobbies that do not involve their pets.
Teach them that it is important to balance their lives; there’s school, life with the pet, and other activities that would not necessarily mean having the pet around. Being able to balance the different aspects of their days is a must so they do not feel burned out, stressed or pressured.
4) Let them earn the responsibility of having a pet.
It is one thing to own a pet, but it is entirely another thing to consistently take on the task of caring for one. Help them learn how to take care of a pet by going through a trial phase that shows they can take on the responsibility. Having a pet is easy, but for how long can they look after it? It is not a one-week task they can let go of when they’re tired.
Before they can get a pet, teach them how to look after themselves by routine. If it helps, use an egg as a simulation. The goal is it should last for a month, and the objective is to keep the egg in shape and no cracks by the end of the trial period. The tasks are as follows:
- The egg should have its bed.
- The egg should be walked every morning.
- Should the egg “poo” or “pee”, it should be cleaned as soon as possible.
- It needs to be bathed every other day.
- The egg must be tucked in every night, and their bed must be cleaned every morning.
5) Give them an age-appropriate routine to complete every day, until it becomes a habit for them.
Once you think they can handle doing the tasks themselves, give them the chance to prove it. Let them do the tasks themselves, and be supportive. If they commit mistakes, always guide them to focus on the lesson they learn instead of being fixated on the mistake they made.
Once they start to handle everything themselves, they will soon just need subtle reminders on what to do, until they are fully able to handle everything themselves. Learning is a process, so always make sure you give them enough time to learn.
In A Nutshell…
Pets are cute, they’re funny and really smart when they are trained. But, having a pet is also a huge responsibility. Taking care of life is like taking care of your own, can the kids handle such a responsibility?
Always consider the responsibility your child will have when they own a pet, and from there, you will know if they are ready or not. Getting a pet is something that should be earned and not just given as a gift. It’s a process, but when they are ready, your kids will show they are ready.
What’s one tip you would want to give all the new pet enthusiasts on having a pet?