Making the decision to bring a pet into the family is a big one. Having a pet adds so much value to the lives of children and adults alike however comes with added responsibility. More often than not, that responsibility falls to parents despite children’s pinky promises otherwise. For you and your family to all enjoy the fun and unconditional love a pet brings, share the responsibility of caring for your pet right from the start.
Involve your children in the decision of which type of pet the family would like and which variety is best suited to your home and lifestyle. Read books, scroll through websites together and discuss how to care for your pet before taking the leap. The more children are informed and invested in the decision, the more responsible they will be in caring for their pet.
Make a list of everything your pet needs from its owners and how often. Negotiate and plan who will be responsible for each task on a daily, weekly or monthly family calendar, keeping the tasks age appropriate. Lead by example to teach your children simple ways they can improve your pet’s health such as taking the dog for a walk each day, spending time playing with your pet, feeding them with high-quality pet food and even how to hold, carry or pat your furbaby. Even young children can be responsible for feeding, brushing or helping to bathe your pet. Include your children in your pet’s training, from sit, to stay down, come to you, walk on the lease, as this teaches not only discipline to your dog but also to you child.
Show them that caring for your family pet is part of loving your family pet.