Teaching kids to care for pets
Bringing a pet into the family is the start of a new and exciting chapter, especially for children. But what happens when the children aren’t keeping to their promise to care for the pet? Are you a grown-up who has found themselves doing all the work?
Keeping children engaged in pet care
Try these tips:
1. Explain what the pet needs
When the pet arrives, explain to your child that just how they need daily care, so does the pet. A simple conversation can go a long way in helping children be clear on the responsibilities of pet care. Write out a list of tasks that need to occur daily. This could include feeding, play time, patting and so on.
2. Carry out the tasks together
Especially in the early days of owning a new pet, carry out any duties with your child. By doing them together, they will learn what is required and become more engaged and confident about what needs to be done.
3. Set up a routine
Many children respond well to routines. Try to set up a routine so they become used to the task as a regular occurrence. For example, feed the guinea pig together every day after breakfast time.
4. Give them more responsibility
The more involved your child becomes in pet care, the more they will want to manage it on their own. Of course it depends on the type of pet and the abilities and age of your child, but increasing their duties is sure to keep them engaged.
5. Design a tasks board
Set up a tasks board that is visible in a common area of your house. Have your child tick or place a sticker each time they complete a task. That way, they can have a visual representation of their efforts.
One of the many benefits of owning a pet is play time. Be sure to include plenty of interaction and fun with your child and pet. This will enable them to also enjoy being a pet owner.