One thing for sure, it never cross my mind that there’ll come a time where our little home is graced by not one but few pets at the same time. Granted, it’s actually one little furry animal (a grey local cat we call Koko) and two classes of fish (goldfish and tiger fish to be exact) in two cozy aquarium. Taking care of the fishes is one little hobby of my dear husband whereas the cat — that’s all Adam’s doing. The last time my cat died (it was my family’s, long before i get married), it crushed our heart so much that my parents decided enough is enough. No more cats. And lo and behold! Who would have thought that their first grandson a.k.a Adam takes after them and love cats so much that he’s keep on asking for cat to be his own. It takes a solid month of mental preparation before we finally decided to adopt Koko into our humble home, and its a decision that i have never regretted. Bless her little paws and snuggly fur.
Once in a while, comes a thought — does bringing home pets (furry alike or not) a nightmare or is it blessing in disguise? Particularly if there is kids/ toddler at home. Well, thats depends. Lets dive in to the many benefits of taking care of pets to the kids shall we? Firstly, the obvious — feeding and caring for a pet encourages responsibility. Its a good practice to involve your little one (step by step and under direct observation of course) in taking care of the pet.
This is also the best time for parent to look for social red flag with your children (i.e him/her being abusive/consistently cruel with animal). This may point to a few conditions that have to be investigated, look in depth and treated by professional if found to be true; condition like conduct disorder, psychopathy, or indication of the child being abused at home or bullied at school. This can be illicit in children as young as 5 or 6 year old.
Next, children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem. Kids with pets also gets outside/ play more. What better way to let children learn that letting them play right? A child may also feel more comfortable reading aloud to pets than friends/family members. No pressure just good listening ear which frankly, who doesn’t want that?
So, just a few tips to go by for parents with small children, if ever you decided to have a pet at home:
- Never let the kids be alone with your pet unsupervised. Especially if your children is younger than 4 years old. The younger the children, the less control they have. Children under the age of three aren’t mature enough to care for a pet. Their impulsive action and high energy may scared/injured the pet, which in turn may harm them in the process. A frightened animal may scratch or bite your children.
- Let your pet have their own room or space where they can be free from the children, at least for a few hours per day. This is important to ensure that your pet feel comfortable in the house and stressed free. (animal can get stressed too).
- Teach your child to practice hygiene habit when dealing with pet and their droppings. Wash hands regularly especially after playing with the pet.
- Introduce your children to the pet slowly. Show your children how to pet an animal (if they can be pet of course), and tell them when not to interact with the animal. Best rule of thumb, teach your children to be kind and loving to the animal.
- Do not allow the pet to sleep with your children.
- Bring the pet to the vet for annual check up/if they’re sick and for vaccinations.
All in all, i wish you all the best with your pet and the kids. May your home be blessed with lots of love and happiness.