Letting Your Kids Have A Pet Without Ruining Your Entire House
When a kid reaches a certain age, they will start pestering you for a pet. No exceptions, every family has to deal with puppy fever at least for a few years. And you’ve probably thought about giving in, because pets are fantastic and very beneficial for kids. You don’t have time to balance pet, home and childcare, though. And we all know that all those promises about feeding and walking the puppy will vanish in the first week. So, how do you let your kids have a pet without destroying your house (and your sanity) in the process?
Make sure your kids are the right age
Kids under five should not be responsible for a pet. It is different if you have a family cat or dog, but if the child is going to be the “primary owner” and care giver for the pet, you should wait until they are older. Small animals like hamsters and mice are good for kids eight and up. Rabbits and turtles are better for ten-year-olds, middle schoolers can usually take care of a fish tank or a small bird cage on their own. If your child is set on getting a large bird or reptile, wait until they are in high-school or older, as these pets are a large commitment and responsibility.
Teach your kids to respect animals
Almost every kid loves animals. The problem is that most kids (especially small kids) don’t understand how to properly show that love while respecting their pet. Your job as a parent is to teach your children how to appropriately interact with the animal. Petting a dog is fine, but tugging on its tail or hitting it is not. All animals should be left alone while eating and sleeping too. Your kid needs to learn self-control and understand that, just because they want to interact with the pet, that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to do so.
Do a pet trial run
If you have the chance, it’s always a great idea to have a trial run before making the important decision of getting a pet. Try dog sitting for a couple of weekends, so your kids will learn what is like to have a puppy around at all times. This will also be good for you to determine if having a pet is a good idea for your family as well.
Get the entire family on board
If one or more members of the family is having second thoughts or are not entirely sure about the idea of getting a pet, it might be a good idea to hold off for the time being. Keep in mind that not every pet will be suitable for your family. If you live in an apartment, don’t get a large dog, fun as they might be. If your family doesn’t have a lot of free time, getting a bird will be a bad idea as well.