Is Your Child Ready for a Pet?
If your kids are always asking you for a pet, you know the pain of many parents everywhere. It can be hard to tell them no, but unfortunately if you don’t believe that your child is ready for a pet, you have to. Exactly how do you know whether they’re ready or not? Having a pet is a huge responsibility. To help make the decision, ask yourself these 5 questions when you’re trying to decide if your kids are ready to have a pet or not.
How old are your kids? – If your kids are not old enough to grasp the real concept of the care and responsibility that a pet requires, then it may be wise to wait until they are older. Young kids especially are unintentionally rough, and that is not fair to a pet, and can in fact lead to things like dog bites. Stick with the stuffed variety until they are older.
How are their grades? – If your kids are not responsible enough to keep up with their grades in school, there’s a really good chance that they aren’t responsible enough to help care for a pet. There are exceptions to this of course, such as a child who is simply struggling or has special needs, but barring things such as that, their grades should play a major part in your decision.
Can they follow simple directions without assistance? – If you tell your children to tie their shoes, can they do it? Can they follow multi-step directions? If not, they may not be old enough yet to handle the care that comes with a pet. Wait awhile and reassess whether you think they are ready once they are older.
Can they do simple chores without assistance and nagging? – Another way to determine whether your kids are ready for a pet is to ask yourself if they can handle simple chores when asked — the first time. If you ask them to take out the trash, can they do it by themselves? Do you have to nag them? Can they dry or put away dishes without help? Do they pick up their room when you ask them to? If not, they may not be ready to assist with the day to day care of a pet.
Do they follow a good health routine for themselves without too much trouble? – Are your kids responsible enough to know to brush their teeth on their own? Do they bathe without a fight or without needing to be reminded? Do they dress themselves in clean clothing every morning? If so, they are most likely ready for that pet they are asking for.
If you’re still unsure, get them a small pet like a goldfish or beta fish to start with. Fish are fun AND they require minimal care and a low dollar investment. Doing so will give you the chance to “test” how well they will take care of a larger, more complicated pet such as a cat or dog. And that way, if YOU get stuck with the care, it is way easier than training a dog or emptying the litter box. In order to make the best decision, you must assess the situation unemotionally. A pet is a living creature and before you turn one over to your children, you need to make sure that they are ready for that kind of responsibility — and that YOU are, also, should they fail and the care falls to you.