22 Jul Teaching children to look after their pets
Pets are fantastic companions for children, helping them socially, emotionally, and physically – as well as being a great snuggle buddy. Pet ownership is also a good way to help teach your children responsibility. Here are a few great ways to get your kids involved with caring for your pet.
1. Teach Them Young
As you care for your pet, make sure your children are following what you are doing and why you are doing it. From a very young age, children can develop a concept of the importance of providing good care, and the difference it makes in their animals’ lives. It’s a great way to teach responsibility and empathy, even from a very young age.
2. Lead by Example
There are plenty of tasks that are best suited to an adult, but that doesn’t mean that the kids can’t get involved. You can effectively model positive behaviours, such as treating pets gently and with kindness, ensuring their needs are met, and carrying out hygiene-related tasks while your kids look on. As they get older, they can start to take on some of those tasks themselves.
3. Assign Age Appropriate Tasks
No matter their age, your kids can start helping out – but it’s important to keep the tasks age appropriate so that your pet gets the best care possible. Younger kids could start by cleaning away toys, and keeping your pet exercised by playing games. As children get older, they can take on tasks like topping up food and water, taking them for walks, and making sure they’re well groomed.
4. Create a Roster
Getting organised means that your pet doesn’t miss out on their care, and also helps your kids to develop their sense of responsibility. It’s easy to just take over a task if it hasn’t been done, but you’ll miss out on a valuable opportunity to keep kids accountable. A roster is a great way to rotate tasks, and makes it easy to see who is responsible for what.
5. Make it Fun
Looking after your pet can turn into…. Well, a chore! Kids won’t always feel like completing their tasks, but it does help if you can keep the mood positive. Try to avoid nagging and responding in an angry manner – you could instead remind them how hungry their dog will be without their food, for example. Kids deserve lots of praise for a job well done. You might also want to put a rewards system in place for when those jobs get completed with a minimum of reminding.
Kids and Pets
It’s vitally important that children learn responsibility at a young age, and pets are a great way to teach them – as well as all the other benefits that furry friends can bring. Model great pet ownership and get your kids involved along the way, and you’ll see that your pets are better cared for, and your children develop socially, emotionally, and physically into great pet owners themselves.