Teaching children the responsibility of caring for pets – Part 1

Many children without pets try to talk their parents into adopting a pet. Children can talk until they are blue in the face about how they will take the pet for walks, feed, and give the pet water every day. The reality is if that child does get the permission to adopt a pet, the responsibility is usually stuck on the parents, not the child. There may even be a short “honeymoon” period where the child does take care of the pet, but the novelty will soon wear off if proper education on pet care is not received.

If a parent is considering adopting a pet, a parent must first educate the child on how to care for the pet. The parent needs to convey to the child that pets require ongoing responsibility. A parent can get books and research the Internet to give their child valuable information about how to care for the potential pet. After everything is taught to the child and the child is still willing to take care of the pet, the potential pet is one step closer to being part of your family.

A parent should try something simple for the child to take care of to show that the child can be responsible. A parent can get a small plant for the child to take care of for a period of time. The parent should be able to expect that the child water that plant every day and take any other measures to ensure that plant stays alive. If the child can’t take care of a plant, a child can’t take care of an animal.

A child should have some hands-on experience with a pet before adopting one. The child could volunteer at the animal shelter by brushing, feeding, walking, and watering dogs. If the animal shelter is not an option, a family friend, relative, or neighbor could monitor the child taking care of their pets for a short time.

If the child is able to take care of a plant and another person’s animal (with monitoring) than the child may be ready for the pet. After a parent gets the pet, the parent should monitor the child to be sure the dog is being watered, walked, groomed, and fed, but the responsibility should be on the child’s shoulders.

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