If your child has got to the certain age where they are obsessed with the idea of having a pet, you’ve no doubt thought about making their dreams come true and investing in an animal for the family. After all, they are a great addition to any family unit and can be really useful for teaching your children valuable lessons regarding responsibility and the stages of life.
However, you’re also probably dreading getting lumbered with all the hard work – and expenses – after your children have realised it’s not all cuddles and sunshine walks!
Therefore we’ve compiled a few tips of things you can do to help prepare your child for the things that having a pet will entail – no pun intended!
Explain to them that pets have emotional needs like us
Pets – not unlike children – need a lot of love and attention to help keep them happy, so explaining to your children that they will need as much fuss as we do will be beneficial when the animal arrives in your home. They also need to feel safe and secure just like us. Comparing the animal’s needs with your children’s may help the little ones visualise the true nature of the responsibility involved as they will be able to relate the understanding better if it’s centred around them.
Establish a routine for their physical needs
Likewise, pets of course require regular meals and lots of water daily. You could encourage them to have a special job, like filling the food bowl up daily so that they have a big responsibility that isn’t too difficult. Any new pet moving into a new home is also likely to feel some form of anxiety, so you could invest in some feliwayfrom Vet Medic to help keep your animal nice and calm and relaxed during the early stages.
Ensure they understand the pet will require medical help
All pets need an occasional yet fairly regular trip to the vets and it’s important your child will understand this, as they will need to go even if they’re not ill for things like vaccinations and checkups. This can however be a really good way of teaching your child about looking after someone and all of the things that involves, and also the aging process as your pet will no doubt require a little extra medical attention as they grow older.
Get them involved from the very beginning
Arming them with lots of knowledge from the very beginning can help them prepare both mentally and physically for the arrival of the animal in your home. You could purchase some booksfor children on owning a pet or particular literature relating to the specific animal or breed you choose. You could even perform a ‘trial run’ by pet-sitting a friend or relative’s pet for a few days so that your little ones can understand what life is like living with an animal (and they can see the not so desirable things about it for themselves!).