Fido As Teacher: How Pets Teach Responsibility

When your child begins to beg for a pet, you may cringe at the thought of the additional responsibilities - and messes - a pet can bring into your home. Parents think of all the work and responsibility having a family pet could entail, knowing full well they already have their hands full with the kids. However, allowing your child to pitch in and care for a dog or cat can help both you and your child out, not to mention teach you both some important lessons in the process. Read on to learn more!

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Many children wish for a pet at least once in their lives. While, dogs, cats, and other pets, represent fun and friendship for the child, they often mean something much more trying for the parent. Pets require a tremendous amount of work and responsibility. With a bit of realistic expectation, however, you can use everything that comes along with the purchase of a pet to teach your child important life lessons.

Family Pets

Teach Responsibility

A family pet can help show children the importance of proper care in keeping their new friend happy and healthy. All pets need to be fed, given fresh water, and exercised regularly. Give your child a sense of responsibility by having them help meet these needs, whether they feel like it that day or not. Be warned, however, that animals must be properly cared for, if your child isn't willing to do it, you must step in to take on those responsibilities yourself if needed.

Give Confidence.

When your child properly cares for their pet and feels some sense of responsible ownership, they will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. These feelings allow your child to feel more independent and confident in how to care for living beings, including themself!

Encourage Exercise

If you've ever been forced to keep up with a young puppy or kitten, you know how exhausting it can be! Use your new pet's energy to your advantage. By encouraging your child to play with his or her pet, both of them will get the exercise they need to sleep soundly and live healthy, happy lives.

A New Friend!

While some pets are more friendly than others, children have an uncanny ability to bond closely with dogs and cats. Studies have shown that pet ownership brings happiness and can even improve life expectancy. While a four-legged friend cannot replace the two-legged kind, the companionship they provide can be healthy and beneficial.

Treat Others Well

Teaching your child how to 'play nice' with and show affection toward another living being is an essential first step toward developing lifelong empathy towards others. Learning how to be a good friend with a pet will teach one how to be more open and friendly with other people as well.

Be Practical

While the benefits of pet ownership are clear, pets are definitely not for everybody. Make sure the whole family is aware of the requirements that come along with the pet. Also, some pets can be exceptionally aggressive with children. It's best to introduce your child and the potential pet before bringing him or her home to make sure that there is a healthy connection.

Take note that it is of the utmost importance to supervise any and all interactions between your child and a new pet. Please don't allow children to tease a pet, pull tails or ears, etc. Instead, guide them to properly care for and respect animals.

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