A hallmark of being a kid is begging parents for a pet. With the promises of doing everything needed to take care of Fido and all of the chores for the rest of forever, you may feel your resolve whittling away bit by bit. However, something’s at the forefront of your mind. Of course, these promises are empty, as the reality of taking care of another living thing is a responsibility that some kids may not be ready for. Below are some signs to help you figure out whether or not your kids are prepared for a pet.
Respecting Animals’ Space is Key
You may find that your child wants a pet but shrinks away from the animal when they’re close to one. The child’s fear of animals is a good indicator that your child may not be ready for a pet. Or, you could find that your child is the next Steve Irwin, searching for animals whenever they visit somebody’s house. Wanting to be around animals and loving them is an essential part of having a pet.
However, loving animals is just one part of the puzzle. The ability of your child to understand the boundaries an animal may set is vital for successful pet ownership. The last thing that you want to have to happen is a fear or defense response that happens in the pet while your child does things like trying to ride on a dog’s back, chase a cat, or just get up in an animal’s face.
Your Child Has Initiative
Something that is important to remember is that your child also has to act more grown-up. Remembering to do their household chores without being prompted to is a big sign of maturity that’s important to have as a pet owner. That’s also not to say that they can’t ever forget; forgetfulness is going to happen, but needing constant reminders to do the simplest of things may not be a good sign that your kids are ready for a pet yet.
There are a number of things that a pet owner needs to do, such as feed, walk, clean up after, and care for the pet. Perhaps you can speak to friends of yours who own pets and ask if you can look after theirs for an afternoon, a day or when they go away. See how the kids go with walking the dog, feeding the animal. Cleaning up their poo etc… Their initiative in these matters (particularly if looking after a pet for a weekend) is a good indicator as to whether they are ready.