It may be hard to decide whether or not your kids are ready to get a pet. It is, after all, an addition to the family and is a big undertaking. When you feel the time has come for your child to be capable of caring for a pet, it is imperative that you help them learn how to do so, effectively.
To involve your kid in the decision making process is very crucial. Kids must understand the gravity of how much care is actually required for the type of pet they would like to get. For instance, having a cat is less work than having a dog since they are low maintenance and don’t need as much attention; they don’t need to be taken out for walks and don’t need to be groomed as much as dogs do.
Similarly, if getting a smaller pet like a guinea pig or a hamster is on the table, talking about what their basic needs are beforehand is wise. Whatever type of pet you ultimately decide to get, ensure that it is a family decision so everyone takes equal responsibility.
Teach by demonstrating how to provide food and water for the pet and when. Consider posting a schedule in a place where it can easily be accessed and read by your child – it will help teach them responsibility. Waste removal, in a safe way, must be taught as well. Remind your kid the importance of washing hands after this activity, to prevent spread of germs and falling ill.
Your kid should be instructed to clean (with soap and water) the living spaces (cage, kennels, or fish tank) of their pets at least once every week. Some pets require visits to the groomer’s for nail clippings or a haircut, so consider bringing your child along to the appointments so they can learn how it is done and eventually be aware of when it is required.
Encourage your child and assist them until they get the hang of caring for their new pet.