Teaching Kids To Look After Their Pet
Teaching your kids how to care for animals is highly beneficial. It shows them how to look after a living animal and also how all animals should be treated. Never give full responsibility of a pet to a child, care should always be supervised by an adult. If you are going to let your child contribute to the care of a pet then there are a few things you should explain to them.
The five freedoms
The very first thing you should teach your children when it comes to looking after pets is the ‘five freedoms’. These are basic things that all animals need in order to live a happy and comfortable life. Anyone who is responsible for an animals should abide by the five freedoms.
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from injury, pain or disease
- Freedom to express normal behaviour
- Freedom from fear or distress
to read more about each of the five freedoms.
Explain to your child that having a pet is a big responsibility. It takes a lot of time and effort to care for a pet properly and if they want one they should promise to help. Children can get very excited about a new pet and then after a few weeks lose interest. Remind them that if they want a pet they will have to look after it for its entire life, which could be quite a few years depending on what pet you get.
You need to organise a schedule for the entire family and plan who is going to do what and when. Let your child know exactly when they are expected to exercise and spend time with their pet. Consider having a checklist of things that need to be done for your pet each day to ensure everyone is doing their jobs. You are responsible if the pet doesn’t get what they need, so if your children forget to feed, clean or provide them with water then you will have to step in.
If you get a pet that lives in a cage or pen then you may want to show your child how to clean it. Pets need their cleaned regularly to keep them free from disease and discomfort, and to keep your home clean and tidy. It’s especially important to make sure you keep your pet’s living area clean when there are children in the home.
It’s extremely important to teach your child how to handle their pet correctly. If they hold them incorrectly they could hurt the animal or cause an injury. You can always show them using a fluffy toy and let them practice picking it up before you get a real pet. Show them how to pick up and put down their pet correctly and when they should and shouldn’t handle them. Children can often get overexcited with pets so make sure they are always supervised when handling their pet.