Kids will promise just about anything to get a new pet. However, having a pet is a huge responsibility not only for them but for everyone in the family. It can quickly become a challenge to get them to follow through with their pet care chores, especially after the novelty of having a new pet wears off. Below are some of the ways you can show your kids how to take care of a pet properly.
1. Introduce your child to the pet.
If your child has never met the pet, make sure they have a nice introduction to each other. Give them some time to get acquainted and even play with each other. Ensure you are supervising this interaction so that neither of them is hurt or the pet does not escape. Take this time to give your child helpful information about the pet such as what they can’t eat, what they like or don’t, and what they expect. You can also show them how to handle the pet, for instance with younger kids tell them not to pull on tails or play roughly with the pet.
2. Make a list of pet responsibilities
After listing all the pet-care duties, talk to your kids about what chores they feel they can do. Start them off with simple daily tasks instead of a difficult one that is done less frequently. Also, take enough time to explain why this chore is important and what could happen to their pet if it is not done. For instance, if they forget to go to Acana food for dogs, the dog could go without their favorite food, which is stressing. Involve all family members and rotate the duties. Children learn faster if they have a role model so show them what you expect of them.
3. Assign duties according to age
Delegate specific responsibilities according to age. Do not give your kid a task they cannot handle, such as letting a 7-year old walk the dog unsupervised because it could escape. If you have to assign them a hard task, help them with it or supervise them until they get the hang of it.
4. Reward your kids for taking care of the pet
If they are on track with their chores and take great care of the pet, don’t forget to reward them. However, be very careful not to associate pet-care responsibilities with rewards or use it as a form of punishment. This can have a negative effect and make them dread taking care of the pet. Instead, explain to them that if they do not perform their pet-care duties they will not get to enjoy any pet activities such as playing with the pet.
Some children enjoy pet care more than others, so while delegating duties consider your child’s interests. Also, don’t expect your kid to shoulder the responsibility for a pet unless they are older. For younger kids, allow them to take part as you supervise and offer occasional support. Remember that kids will make mistakes, so be patient with them. By teaching them how to treat pets gently and basic care skills, you are also teaching them about responsibility and empathy.