Are your kids begging you for a pet this April school vacation? It could be a great thing for your family.
It may teach them responsibility and a lesson on caring for another living thing.
You also need to ask yourself are your kids mature enough and will they follow through on taking care of the new pet?
Connie Kile from the Providence Animal Rescue League joined The Rhode Show Wednesday to offer some advice.
Tips on Helping Kids & Pets Live Harmoniously
Many parents will be faced with the inevitable request from their kids: Can we get a pet? If you determine that your family is in a position to take on the responsibility for a cat, dog, bird, guinea pig, rabbit or other animal, here’s some tips on why it may be a good idea and how to make the addition an easy one!
Where to get a pet? Try the Adoption Option
Adopting a pet who needs a new home is a great way to illustrate to kids that circumstances are sometimes beyond our control, even if we’ve done everything “right.” While a cat or dog may not have been a good fit for his former family, he’s getting a second chance at love with yours. Opting to save a life is a valuable lesson to learn at a young age. Do research together on what type of pet would be best for your family.
Parents are primary caretakers
If you’re getting a cat or a dog for your children, it’s unrealistic to expect the kiddies to do all the work. No matter how mature your child is, he will need help handling the daily needs of a cat or dog. Sometimes a pet that requires a little less maintenance, like a hamster or a fish, may be a more suitable option.
Supervision is key
Supervision is needed at all times between children and pets. Young children may unwittingly mishandle or hurt puppies and kittens, who are particularly vulnerable to being injured. On the other hand, baby animals may have needle-sharp nails and teeth that can hurt children. Being present will provide you the opportunity to teach all involved how to interact with each other in a respectful and loving way.
Teach “Gentle” at an early age
You can never start too early to teach your child what a “gentle” touch is and where they can and cannot touch an animal. Hold your babies hands to stroke a pet. Teach them that “hugs” are for humans not for pets. With time and patience, pets can learn that these little humans are okay and mean well.
Create a family schedule
Creating a schedule is a great way to get the family involved in your pet’s care and ensure that no one forgets to walk the dog or feed the cat. It will also help foster a positive bonding relationships between your new furry friend and everyone in the house.
Become a foster family
Feel hesitant about adopting? If so, consider fostering a shelter animal in your home first. This allows for a test run and lets you figure out whether a new animal will click with your kids or another pet. Shelters are always in need of families who can share their home temporarily with an animal in need of a week or two of care.