Pets are an incredible addition to every family. They bring love, joy, and an abundance of fun memories with them.
More than these, they teach everyone, especially kids, important life skills, including trust, responsibility, and compassion, among others. They also help develop kids’ self-esteem, social skills, and patience.
How do they achieve this? Let’s find out!
Pets require an immense amount of care in areas, like feeding, cleaning, affection, attention, and exercise.
An effective way to teach kids responsibility is to have them assume some of this care. However, be reasonable. Put the kids in charge of menial tasks only. Handle the strenuous tasks yourself, although you can have them assist you. Over time, you can pass on some of these tasks. However, observe their growth and ensure they can do these tasks before you put them in charge. Also, endeavor to be on hand and provide assistance whenever required.
Pets can’t express their needs, so they rely on us for their well-being. To properly care for a pet, you need to be kind, patient, understanding, and compassionate. Once the child develops these attributes in their interactions with the pet, they can learn to extend them to others.
As a parent, pay attention to your kid’s behavior and how it affects the pet. Then, show them the effect of this behavior on the pet. For instance, pulling a cat’s tail is harmful and unwelcome to virtually every cat.
Teach them how their behaviors affect the pet and to be aware of what’s acceptable and not acceptable to the pet.
A pet is a regular companion that reacts to you based on how you treat it. If your child treats their pet dog affectionately, the dog will respond with affection. More than that, giving your kid leave to care for the pet shows you trust them, which will naturally boost their self-esteem.
To earn a pet’s love and trust, one must respect it. When kids treat their pets gently and with love, the pets will adore and respect them. And by interacting with their pet, they can learn about respect, especially how to earn it.
When you own a pet, it is necessary to create a set of rules that govern its behavior and enforce them. Enforcing your rules means disciplining the pet when it does the wrong thing and rewarding it when it does the right thing. When kids practice these acts, they practice leadership. And these acts boost their confidence and sense of authority.
Coping with Loss
Pets don’t live as long as humans do. So, kids usually have to deal with the loss of their pet companions at some point
during their childhood. For most children, the death of a beloved pet will be their first experience with loss. If managed properly, it is an opportunity to teach the child how to handle the different emotions associated with death. Also, it is an opportunity to teach them that they can – and should – feel sad and cry in such a situation. This will prove to be an invaluable experience for them as they grow up.
Regardless of their age, kids can learn a lot from adopting a pet. However, avoid saddling them with the daily care of the pet. Also, pay attention to their behaviors and stay close enough to correct them when they err.