6 Things to Consider Before Getting Your Child a Pet
Getting your child a pet is a major decision as it will have an impact on your everyday life. Actually, not just your life, but it will change your entire family’s life, hopefully, for the better. However, you have to make sure you give it enough, though to ensure that you will make the right decision.
A time comes in most, if not all, children’s lives when they start asking their parents for a pet. Most parents are tempted to say “yes” without hesitation. Still, are you sure that this is the right time? What kind of pet would you get? What will this experience teach your children?
There are things to consider before bringing a new pet home. We have collected a few tips for choosing the right pet for your family.
1. Benefits of getting a pet for a child
There are numerous benefits of owning a pet, including teaching your children about responsibility. At a certain age children can already take care of themselves, but caring for another living, breathing thing is totally different, and it will be a new experience. This will also develop children’s nurturing side.
It is a known fact that children and pets can form bonds very fast. However, bonding doesn’t stop there; family members can bond with each other as well through their pets. This will be good for their health, both emotional and physical (as children with pets tend to have fewer allergies later in life).
2. What could go wrong?
Getting a new pet for children may seem amazing at first, but there is so much that could go wrong on the way. We already mentioned allergies and how they can be reduced. However, if someone already has allergies to animals, it can become a serious problem.
There are also costs to be considered; it’s not only the cost of buying the animal, but there are also ongoing costs, such as food, vet visits, vaccinations, medication, etc.
Costs could be not only monetary, but it also includes the time you will have to spend with the pet, and it is a huge commitment. When thinking about pets to have at home, don’t forget that these can bring disruptions to your family life, which can soon become a burden, especially if you already have a busy schedule.
3. Do you really understand what it means to get a pet for a child?
It’s not only your child or children who have to understand what it means to own a pet; you, as a parent, are the first who have to be aware.
When looking for the best small pet for kids, consider getting information on their lifespan, grooming and exercise needs, potential health problems, costs related to caring for the animal, and the way they interact with humans, children in particular. Are you really up for caring for this pet?
4. The time is right
Getting a pet for Christmas is a mistake many parents and grandparents make; it is an impulsive decision and it seldom works out. Before getting a pet, you should consider the developmental stage of your child, the amount of time they have and the lifespan of the pet.
For instance, if you get a dog for a child, they might go off to college by the time the dog gets old. On the other hand, teenagers might be better caregivers for pets. Still, there is nothing cuter than puppies and children.
5. Choose the pet carefully
What is a good first pet for a child?
If you are looking for good pets for toddlers, you should know that cats and dogs are always a safe bet and they are pretty similar regarding needs and lifespan.
There are also rodents you could be thinking about, such as guinea pigs, hamsters, and rats. They require minimal feeding and water and they don’t wander around the house, but they need cleaning and have a relatively short lifespan. Birds are similar to rodents in terms of care, but their lifespan varies greatly.
What to consider before getting a cat for your kids? Be mindful of teaching your kids to treat the cat with empathy and compassion. It is easy for kids to get carried away and treat them like stuffed toys. Also, learn and teach your kids to identify distance decreasing and distance increasing signals, to know when to leave the cat alone or otherwise.
Reptiles also require relatively little care, but feeding can become complex and expensive. Fish don’t require a lot of care, but they can teach children responsibility.
6. Prepare the child
So, how to prepare your child for getting a pet?
Before bringing a pet for a child, you should make sure that your child or children interact with different animals and observe their behavior.
This will tell you whether or not they are ready for owning a pet and the kind of pet that would be more suitable for them.
What is your experience with getting a pet for a child? What kind of pet would you/did you get and why? How did it affect your family and what would you differently, if anything?
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