Caring For Our Pets
Tips for taking care of pets with children of different ages
Involving your child or children in caring for family pets is an excellent way to build responsibility, empathy and nurturing.
Things You Will Need
- Your pet
- Pet-care items, e.g. bowls and food, leash, brush, ball
How To Do It
- Talk to your child about what your pet needs on a day to day basis, e.g. food, sleep, cleaning, exercise and love.
- Your child will be excited to join in the routines and take responsibility for certain tasks if you make it fun and engaging for them.
- You can set your child specific daily responsibilities, e.g. working together to measure out the food and water; playing ball with the dog; or helping to collect eggs from the chicken coop every morning.
- Discuss these with your child and agree to help one another with your pet’s care as a shared family responsibility.
- Show your child how to handle your pet gently and safely.
- Certain pets can be put in your child’s lap wrapped in an old towel while they get used to handling them.
- Brushing a cat or dog’s fur is a soothing way for your child to bond with their pet. Have your pet sit with you as your child learns to gently brush its fur. Talk about the benefits for the animal of cleanliness, love and care.
What Learning is Occurring?
- Taking responsibility
- Working together as a part of a family team to achieve something
- Empathy, knowledge about and care for animals
- As your child’s confidence and understanding develops, you can increase their pet-care responsibilities.
- Never leave your young child alone with your pet.
- Introduce a new pet to your child slowly and under close supervision.
- Praise your child for their efforts in caring for their pet and tending to their needs.
- Practice effective hand washing to ensure a high level of hygiene.
Considerations for different ages:
- Older children may enjoy helping you wash your pet (if they need a wash) and younger children can become involved in helping collect items for the bath or talking to your pet soothingly/patting them in preparation for the wash.
- Older children may enjoy learning more about how to care for or train their pet in new ways and some simple research with you can help them begin to think of ideas. They might ring a grandparent or older relative who can share some knowledge or past experience and can offer a story about their pets.
- Younger children can also participate in helping to gather and collect the animals toys or items from around the house in a general tidy up or in preparation for a trip or walk to the park etc.
Developed by Alix Broadhead, NSW Curriculum Mentor