Bringing an animal home for your child to love is a wonderful feeling. If all goes well, this could be a companion for your child for years to come, giving them a beloved new playmate and a new family member. Choosing a pet to adopt and incorporating them into your family’s lifestyle can be a big challenge. It’s important to think it through carefully first and to take steps to prepare before making any significant decisions.
1. Start simple.
If you’ve never had an animal in the house before, it may be worth beginning with a fairly easy ‘starter’ pet. A large dog probably will be too overwhelming a challenge for your family, so choose an animal with slightly less commitment involved, to begin with, then see how you go. A fish can be a fun first pet for small children, and they can choose their own aquarium accessories online to create a beautiful home for their new friend.
2. Consider the breed.
If you do decide to adopt a dog, do your research to find the breed that will suit your family best. Certain breeds deal very well with small children, while others tend to thrive better in families with older kids. If your child is very small or still a baby, then a smaller, good-tempered breed will probably be preferable. Adopting a dog from an animal shelter is usually best, as it can be difficult to predict the temperament of a small puppy purchased from a breeder. The shelter should be able to guide you toward a dog that has the right personality for your family.
3. Teach your child the responsibilities involved.
If your child is old enough to tackle the responsibilities involved in caring for their pet, encourage them to take charge. Make a list of each daily chore involved in the pet’s care, from feeding and walking to training, and help guide them through the process in the first few weeks. A pet can be a great way for kids to learn about taking responsibility and caring for another creature.
4. Consider your child’s personality.
Some kids beg for a pet and then ignore and neglect it as soon as they grow tired of the animal. Make sure you properly assess your child’s personality before giving in to their request. If they don’t seem willing to keep up with responsibilities and chores and aren’t generally consistent in their likes and dislikes, then they may not be mature enough yet for a pet of their own.
5. Prepare for commitment.
Once you’ve decided to adopt a pet, sit your child down and help them to understand the commitment involved in bringing an animal into your home. Explain to them that a pet isn’t a toy, but a long-term commitment that the whole family will have to be on board with. This goes for the adults in the house, too.
6. Get ready for the big day.
Before you bring your pet home, head to the shops and pick out everything you need for the adoption day. Get the food, toys, comfort items, litter boxes, and anything else you need ahead of time so that you’re totally prepared to care for your new pet friend as soon as they arrive.