Pets enrich the lives of many children and families. While children raised with pets show many benefits, safety concerns should always be a determining factor when deciding to get or keep a pet in a family with young children.
Choose wisely from breeds or species that are a good fit for your family, your home and your lifestyle. Behavior, temperament, excitability, patience and size are important characteristics to consider in a child-friendly pet that your little one can help care for. Pets should be free of disease and regularly checked by a veterinarian. Family allergies should also be taken into account. Young children should always be supervised during their interactions with pets. Animals can be easily harmed or provoked to attack if hit, poked or grabbed by young children. Children must be taught to play gently with pets and to keep their distance when an animal is eating, sleeping or caring for their young.
Involved parents, planning and open discussion are necessary in order for a family pet to be a positive experience. Young children can help with pet care, but can’t be completely responsible. They may only be able to help you with a few small tasks when feeding, cleaning or grooming your pet. For example, your child can join you when walking the dog, but certainly shouldn’t walk the dog alone. Allow your child to help care for the family pet in small, safe ways and always under adult supervision.
There are many benefits to children raised with pets. Positive relationships with pets can encourage children to love and trust others. Bonding with a pet can also help young children develop non-verbal communication, compassion and empathy. Caring for pets teaches children responsibility and respect. Both children and animals need exercise and pets are great playmates and a fun way to add physical activity into a child’s day. A pet’s life span can also provide parents the opportunity to teach life lessons about reproduction, birth, illness, loss and death.
At the Goddard School on 240 West Swamp Road in Doylestown, PA we like to hear about the pets that our families have! It’s interesting to hear all the different stories! Come share your story with us at the Goddard School!
The Goddard School
240 West Swamp Road
Doylestown, PA 18901