How To Tell If Your Kid Is Ready For A Pet

Are Your Kids Ready For A Pet?

So, your kids want a pet. What should you do? Give in or not? Getting a new furry family member is a big decision. One that largely (but not entirely) depends on how ready your kids are. But how do you know if your kids are ready? Find out by answering the following questions. 

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Getting Your Child A Pet

1. How Old Are Your Kids?

So, how young is too young? We can’t make a blanket statement on that. Every child is different. But we can give some advice. For starters, it’s usually not a good idea to get a new pet if you just had a baby. Talk about overwhelming! Furthermore, it might even be risky to have certain pets around your little one. Generally speaking, older kids do better with pets. That’s because they are more likely to safely interact with animals. They can also help out with some pet care tasks, and pets can even be therapeutic for older kids. With that in mind, it’s better to wait until your child is about 5 years old to get a cat or dog. If you can’t wait that long, consider getting a small pet that lives in a cage. 

2. Is Your Child Responsible? 

Have your kids promised they will take care of the pet? Remember, actions speak louder than words. If they have already proven they are responsible, you might be able to take their promise seriously. But if they haven’t shown any signs of responsibility, don’t buy it. For example, grumbling about chores and failing to get them done is a sign your kids aren’t ready to care for a pet. 

3. Do Your Kids Understand Pet Ownership?

Your kids probably don’t really understand what it’s like to be responsible for another living being. But they can get a feel for it by caring for other family members, friends, and neighbors, with their permission. After taking care of an animal, they might decide they don’t want that kind of commitment. 

Alternatively, you can have a “pretend pet” and set scheduled care tasks that must be completed much like a real pet. Don’t set an end date, but see how long the child will continue their pet care tasks with and without reminders.

4. Can Your Child Safely and Respectfully Interact with Animals? 

Safe interactions require respect on both sides. The pet must be good with children, but your kids must also learn how to respect the pet. Never bring a four-legged friend home unless you are absolutely certain your kids can safely interact with animals. You must be the one to teach them how. Here are some websites to help:

5. Will You Help Your Child With Pet Care?

Consider your own willingness to be a responsible pet parent. Although your kids might help care for the pet, most children shouldn’t be given full responsibility. That’s where you need to step in. If you aren’t ready for that, don’t get a pet. 

What To Tell Your Child

Maybe you’ve decided your kids aren’t ready for a pet. How do you tell them? Just be honest. 

Rather than making up excuses, let them know exactly why the family isn’t ready. Perhaps the kids aren’t old enough. Or maybe they lack responsibility. Whatever the reason is, they should know it. And you don’t have to leave them without hope. If you think a pet might be possible in the future, make them aware of that. Be sure to mention what needs to change before a pet can come into the picture. For example, if your kids aren’t responsible enough, tell them you might consider getting an animal if they do their chores. 

In Conclusion 

Pets can be great for kids. Maybe you and your kiddos are ready for one, but not all families are. So, before giving in to your kids’ pleas for a pet, make sure it’s the right time to get an animal. If not, wait for a better time. In the long run, the entire family will be so glad you did. 

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