Kids love pets, and studies show that owning a pet creates plenty of benefits, such as encouraging respect for living things and even improved academic performance when a pet is kept in the classroom.
Owning a pet can also foster a sense of responsibility in your children, but only if someone else doesn’t end up doing all the work to feed, wash and tidy up after it! Here are some tips to help children be involved with looking after the family animals.
Create a pet feeding & walking roster
Make a schedule detailing who’s walking, feeding and cleaning up after your pet, then write out a roster and pin it to the fridge. It will be more effective if you keep the days and times as regular as possible, so your child can remember what they need to be doing and when. For example make Sunday afternoon rabbit hutch cleaning time, so it becomes a regular after lunch weekend chore.
Allocate water & feeding duties
Even a kinder child can begin to be responsible for a pet. While they might not be able to fill a bowl with fresh water, they can let you know when the water is dirty. At feeding time show a young child how to measure food and let them pour the food in a bowl. At around ten years of age it is entirely appropriate for a child to be responsible for feeding and watering their pet.
Turn dog walking into a game
Encourage kids to take their dog out for a walk by combining sporty games with pooch walking. Running, catching and chasing games will keep both canine and kids more amused than a pavement stroll. Games like fetch Frisbee will burn off energy for both pup and kid, as well as give your dog extra exercise from jumping in the air.