Children are naturally loving and caring. Because of this, they often gravitate towards cute and furry creatures that seem helpless to them. They like to take care of small animals, and, if you’re a parent, you’ll be able to see your influence on them on how they give attention to these creatures. Of course you’ll want to cultivate your child’s compassion, shown by his kindness to animals. However, you cannot just give your child a pet; not until he is ready. So, when do you know that your kid is all set to take responsibility for a pet? Below are a few questions that you should answer.
— Is there enough space in your home for a pet?
Even though your child might be ready for a pet, one issue that needs to be settled first is about space. Is there room in your house or backyard for a dog or cat? An animal should have a place where it can sleep comfortably and roam. If you’re already living in a cramped apartment, it might not be a good idea to add a furry companion that can only occupy space and make your place more overcrowded. But there are smaller creatures that you can go for, like hamsters or the ever popular gold fish.
— Is your child being responsible when tasked to do simple things?
One sign that your kid is ready for a pet is that he shows that he is responsible in other things. For example, he does all his chores and homework without being prompted. You’ll also observe that you no longer have to give him instructions regarding common tasks and you no longer worry too much when you ask him to do more complicated things because you know that he understands and he gets the job done.
— Is your child of the right age?
Age is a huge factor because the older the child, the more responsible and the more mature he becomes. In addition, an older child will be able to understand things much better. His problem solving skills are also more developed, and this trait will help him recognize potential hazards in relation to keeping a pet.
— Does your child have allergies?
It’s very important to take into consideration your child’s health before you decide on getting a pet. A lot of kids are allergic to dog or cat hair. So, you have to find a type that won’t aggravate your child’s allergies. Some species of dogs or cats are considered as “low-allergen” animals, such as the Portuguese water dog and the Sphynx cat. Other options are: gecko, hamster or fish.
— Does your child understand that animals can be dangerous?
Does your child immediately run towards an unknown dog without caring for his safety? A youngster who is ready for a pet realizes that an animal can be dangerous even though it may appear cute and cuddly. He doesn’t pet a neighbor’s dog right away. Instead, he asks for permission and waits until he is given the go-ahead.
— Is your child aware of the work involved?
If a child thinks that having a pet only involves playing with it, then he might not be that ready to have one yet. Give your kid a pet once he realizes that caring for an animal includes not just playing with it, but also ensuring that — it has a clean home, it is healthy, it is eating well, and others.
This blog post was contributed by Claire Bronson, a freelancer who likes to write about animal-related issues. Click here to learn more about pets, animal health, wild creatures, and other interesting topics.