Owning a pet is both a privilege and huge responsibility, but the rewards far outweigh the work involved. So when the time comes to introduce a new pet into your family, it’s important to get everyone involve—especially the kids. Teaching children to properly care for their furry friends can help foster a lifelong respect and love for animals. Here’s how:
Step One: The Family Meeting
Before promising a new family pet, hold a family meeting to discuss the kinds of responsibilities and daily chores that come with having a pet in the family. Making a list of daily pet care needs is an easy way to share the responsibility among family members and keep kids interested. For younger kids, explain that they will need to give up, say, 30 minutes of cartoons or video games to take their new friend for a walk each day. Once everyone is on the same page and agrees to share the responsibility, you can start feeling comfortable about taking this step.
Step Two: Who Does What?
Discuss with your kids what they are responsible for and why. If you plan on adopting a large dog, it may be best to assign older kids or even the parents the walking and exercise duties. Feeding can also be a bit tricky depending on your pet—large dogs can get excited and knock smaller kids over by accident, but kids can easily help out with feeding smaller dogs and cats. Bathing, walking, waste clean-up and toy organization are great chores for older kids to share.
Step Three: The Business Side of Things
One of the most commonly omitted lessons of pet care is the financial lesson. Kids of every age should learn that owning a pet is not cheap. To instill this lesson in your children from the beginning, have the kids accompany you on vet visits, pet supply shopping trips and other pet-related errands to teach them about the cost of pet parenting. Furthermore, getting kids involved in making regular donations to the local shelter is a great way to emphasize the commitment they’ve made to another life.
Step Four: Accessories
Once your kids and pet have become one big family, reward them with some cute dog and cat merchandise straight from Winston, SampleHouse’s CEO and faithful canine. From pajamas to wall art, dog toys and tote bags, we have everything you need to outfit your newest family member. Everything is Winston-approved, so you know it’s the very best!