Most kids really want to own a pet. They’ll beg for a puppy or a kitten, unaware at first that pets are not really toys, and that they require proper care and love in order to be happy and healthy. For me, this provided the perfect opportunity to teach my son to be responsible and how to handle an animal, and I think that kids can greatly benefit from having a loyal companion as they grow up. I know for a fact that my pets Joey and Clara helped my child understand cats and dogs, and become a nice, kind person who shares my love for animals. I’m very happy that my whole family gets to experience this kind of bond. Have you considered getting a pet for your own kid? In case you’re not sure, here are a few ways they can help your children understand responsibility.
Help your child teach their pet some basic commands, especially if you have a dog. They must learn how to be in charge and have authority so the animal would listen, but they must also learn that this authority cannot be abused. This will teach them confidence and assertiveness, and these skills are easily applicable to school and other areas of their life. Pets are their friends, but they will blindly follow and listen, so the child needs to understand that certain rules must always be followed, for the sake of safety.
Image source: Pexels
Healthy living habits
Even if they have just a goldfish, there are certain routines that need to be established. Make sure your kid understands that they are the owner, and that health and happiness of their pet is their responsibility. My son knows that Joey needs to be walked and fed regularly, and he’s usually the one to do the job. It took him a while to accept that dogs have their own food, especially because our pup tends to stare at you every time you eat. We had to explain to our son that Joey needs his own special food to stay healthy, so now he gives him his preferred puppy food Royal Canin regularly, and is no longer tempted to keep slipping him unhealthy treats. Pets need to be groomed, taken to the vet, taught good behaviour, and most importantly, they need love and attention.
The importance of boundaries
My son already knew that no means no, without exception, but animals can’t exactly speak to us. That’s why they’re so good at teaching us how body language and boundaries work. If my son hugs too hard, our cat Clara slips away, if he gets too rowdy, Clara runs to the other room. Don’t try to rescue your child from the pet. Allow the pet to let them know when enough is enough, and make sure your kid respects this. This will teach them to handle interaction with other kids and adults better, and will make them more mindful of the needs of others.
Image source: Pixabay
Actions have consequences
If your child doesn’t pack their lunch properly and the cat ends up snatching it away, don’t blame the pet. Similarly, if your dog has an accident because your kid didn’t walk them when they should have, make them clean it up. They need to understand that being irresponsible has consequences, and that they can’t abandon their obligations, nor those who rely on them. They need to understand that being irresponsible has consequences, and that they can’t neglect their obligations, nor those who rely on them. Yet, don’t forget that some kids need more time to adapt to new obligations, so be patient and try out different methods. For example, leaving them reminders on the creative Cat Sticky Notes by Catify can make their duties easier to remember. Pets have needs that can’t be ignored. Knowing this will help them remain focused even when they’re having a bad day, and learn that being a good person isn’t something you can take a break from.
Animals are incredible companions to kids. They make them healthier in many ways, and they teach them the wisdom of friendship and family bonds. They teach them how to be responsible and empathic, and what the meaning of unconditional love is.
Zara Lewis is a regular contributor at highstylife.com and a full time animal lover. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she is a mum of two, raising them inseparably from their furry family members.