Adding a pet to your family is a great way to teach children to take responsibility from a young age. Pets teach children important and valuable lessons like compassion, patience, responsibility, respect, empathy, and trust.
When you include your young one in the care of a pet they learn how to love and nurture another creature. Pets require love, water, and food. When you allow your child to take care of the needs of pets, they will learn more about responsibility.
When your family gets a new pet, allow your children to help out. Give them age-appropriate tasks. If your children are young, you can ask them to fill water and food dishes. You can also ask them to pick up toys for the pet.
If the children are older, you can allow them to walk or bathe the pet. Establishing a routine (food, water, walking, personal care) is important for the pet and the family.
With patience, children will be able to follow the set pet care routine. This will teach them responsibility and how to care for another living being.
Pet Responsibilities for Younger Children
- If you have young children you can assign them responsibilities such as feeding, cleaning, and walking the pet. Explain to the child that one of these responsibilities will be assigned to them.
- The responsibility that you choose for the child should be something that they can do without any difficulty or harm to themselves or the pet. When trying to teach your child responsibility don’t overwhelm them with too many things.
- Avoid giving too many responsibilities to your young child. Let the pet responsibility grow with the child, little by little. The self-esteem of your child will grow and they will start feeling more valuable.
Pet Responsibilities for Older Children
- Ensure that your child understands all pet responsibilities (feeding, cleaning, walking, taking care in sickness). Teach them how each responsibility needs to be fulfilled.
- Talk to your child about the responsibilities they will be able to handle on their own. Always give simple responsibilities instead of difficult ones.
- Give a task that the child is capable of doing. The responsibility given should be a source of joy and not a source of frustration.
- Educate your child about the physical and emotional needs of a pet. Show the children that their actions can affect the health and welfare of the pets. With proper guidance, the child will learn how to care and love a pet.
The skills that children will learn when they become responsible for pets include empathy, patience, respect, loyalty, self-esteem, social skills and physical activity.
The best way to teach children how to be responsible for their pet is to show them by setting a good example. Parents need to be clear about pet responsibilities before a pet is adopted into a family.
Having a pet is an extremely rewarding experience for the children. It will provide them with valuable life lessons on responsibility, compassion, and trust. Encourage your child as this will help reinforce responsibility from a young age.