There’s a reason security questions often ask for your first pet’s name. Everyone will always remember their first pet – not just their name, but how they kept you company while you were sick, and always knew to come to you for treats and table scraps. Not only has it been proven that having a pet improves motor skill development in children, it increases exercise, boosts self-esteem, fosters social interactions and can even help kids excel in school. Here are our top 4 tips for raising kids with furry friends…
- Let your child help. Delegating simple tasks to your kid is a great way to introduce responsibility and a sense of purpose when it comes to caring for the furry member of the family. Ask your child to help freshen the water bowl, or let her give the treats after a bath. In no time, your little helper will be sharing the responsibilities of caring for your pet.
- Be clear with boundaries. This one is big for making sure your family happily cohabitates together. Boundaries look different from family to family, so establishing your own will depend entirely on your clan’s needs. Just make sure you explain them in terms your child will understand (i.e. when Shadow is resting, she does not like to be touched because it startles her).
- Establish companionship. Creating pleasant associations with your child and pet will be key in showing them both how to have positive, warm feelings towards each other. Jealousy runs in both directions, so be cognizant of the sort of attention you give them in each other’s presence.
- Always supervise. Remember, all pets – even the most patient, have limits. Interactions between pet and child should always be supervised. We’ve found that it works best to show, not just tell, how your dog or cat should be handled (i.e., “See? Fido loves his belly to be rubbed, but does not so much like his paws grabbed.”)
What tips would you add? Please feel free to share in the comments!