They shed. They are needy. They take up a lot of time. But you can be sure there comes a time in every child’s live where they will start badgering their parents for a pet. Parents will insist the child helps with the pet’s care and will help walk it, clean our the litter tray or clean out the cage. After a long negotiation process, a fragile truce will be reached, usually with the parent caving in and agreeing with their child to get that cute puppy/kitten/rabbit.
And guess who ends up taking care of the animal? That’s right. The parents. Following the scenario above, a lot of parents are hesitant to get a pet. It does not sound very appealing, and the risk that said pet becomes another chore on the never ending list of chores is certainly present. Yet pets can be extremely beneficial for a child’s development. I personally think that the success of getting a pet depends on the following things:
– Personality of the child
If they are the type that is always running about, dropping whatever they are doing in favor of something new and shiny and more interesting, I would go for a pet that does not need a lot of care and involvement, such as hamsters or guinea pigs.
– The ‘difficulty level’ of the pet
Speaking from personal experience, I would say do not get a dog for children under 10 and expect them to be able to understand the dog’s needs and help you take care of it. If you get a dog and have kids under 10, you will be the dogs care taker and not the children.
– Your family schedule
Let’s be honest: if you are already very busy, you won’t have time to take care of an animal as well. Even ‘easy’ things like cleaning out a rabbit cage take time and effort and will have to be done regularly to keep the animals happy.
The bottom line
With all these things taken into account, and careful consideration, I think pets can be an wonderful addition to most families. Just remember that it will most likely be you that will be taking care of them. Don’t set yourself and your children up for disappointment in that regard (i.e. having them promise to help take care of the animal when they are too young and don’t understand fully what the care of an animal involves) and you and your kids will be happy pet owners! Psst. Be sure to check out our great personalised pet collars, who also happen to be the offer of the week 🙂 .