One aspect of raising responsible kids is to teach them how to take care of themselves and also care about others. A great way to do this is by getting them a family pet. To know when the time is right to introduce a new animal friend to the household, watch for the following indicators in your children’s behavior.
When children learn how to practice self-control, they will be soon ready to care for a pet. Exhibiting emotions in acceptable ways is an important factor so that they don’t take out their anger or frustration on an animal under their supervision. Picking up their toys and putting away their clothes are additional signs that they are learning how to care for their surroundings and possessions. Displaying courtesy and respect for the family is also important in preparing to follow instructions about caring for a new pet.
Children that are able to follow simple requests or orders from their parents, teachers, or other authority figures to responsibly handle household chores or schoolwork may be ready to take on the duties of caring for a household pet. Kids will need to learn how to train the animal and meet its daily needs based on parental guidance and example, so it is important that they demonstrate obedience and an interest in learning new skills.
Interest in Animals
A love of nature, especially animals, is another sign that children are ready to accept and love a family pet. You might notice their eyes light up when passing a sign indicating puppies for sale or a yard where a fun-loving dog is chasing a ball. They may eagerly play with their friends’ pets and start asking to have one of their own.
As kids become more mature, they are able to accept higher levels of responsibility. When they ask for a pet, they should be willing to take on added responsibilities in order to make a comfortable environment for a puppy, kitten, or other suitable pet. Keeping the pet’s water dish full as well as feeding the animal on a regular schedule and providing any needed grooming are essential duties for pet ownership. Sustained interest in playing with a pet and cleaning up any messes along with taking a puppy outdoors for a walk, if relevant, all point to a child getting ready to care for a pet.
When you see signs like these, have a talk with your child about the responsibilities and privileges of pet ownership. Then go shopping for those cute puppies or kittens.
By Ani O.
Freelance writer and web enthusiast