Are you thinking about getting a pet for your child? This is always going to be an important decision that will have a long term impact on your family. There are lots of questions to keep in mind here. These are the possibilities we recommend that you do think about before making a final choice.
Are They The Right Age?
First, you should think about the age of your child. It’s tempting to get your child a pet when they are still quite young. If you’re thinking about doing this, then you’ve probably seen the cute videos of animals and children interacting on YouTube and other networks. While these videos are lovely, these types of interactions are often best case scenarios and they can be stages. Largely pets can accidentally hurt younger children. Younger children may also struggle to interact with animals in the right way and can be unintentionally cruel. As such, it may be worth avoiding getting your child a pet until they are old enough to understand the responsibility that comes with it. Some parents will wait until their child is at least ten and entering the early teens.
What Benefits Will It Bring?
We’re going to use this article to discuss a lot of the issues that you must address as parents before you bring an animal or pet into your home for a child. But it’s also worth thinking about the benefits and advantages that a pet can bring too.
One of the key benefits is that it does help to teach your child about responsibilities. It ensures that they have something that they need to look after and care for when they are young. This will help them as they get older because it will give them an understanding of the responsibilities they will have later in life.
It can also help encourage a more active lifestyle. Parents are often worried, perhaps rightly so, that their children are spending far too much time indoors. A pet can be the answer to this issue and ensure that your child is spending plenty of time out in the sun. For instance, if you get your child a dog, then they will need to walk them about twice a day. This doesn’t include the playtime that the animal will also require. This can be a great way to detach your kids from the tech that has taken over their lives.
What Is The Right Type Of Pet?
It’s important to think about choosing the right type of pet for your child. There are lots of different pets that could be suitable options. For instance, you might want to think about choices such as birds, dogs, cats, and small rodents. A cat can be a smart option because they are largely independent. So, while they can provide great companionship, they don’t require too much attention. A cat will only demand your attention on their terms. You don’t have to worry about taking them on walks and you’ll rarely need to play with them.
There are other animals that require even less attention. For instance, you might want to think about exploring a rabbit. Rabbits are great for young children because they are very timid and not at all dangerous. Indeed, the child is more of a threat to the rabbit than the rabbit to the child. It’s worth exploring lots of different animals before you settle on the right one for your child. It’s important that they feel comfortable with the animal and are keen to care for them.
What Is The Cost?
Another point to consider before you get your child a pet is the cost. There are short term and long term costs that you must be aware of here. For instance, in the short term, you need to think about the items that will be required to effectively care and look after the pet. Some key examples include the lead for a dog, or the cage and hut for a smaller animal. These costs do add up and depending on the animal, you’re probably going to need to spend at least a couple hundred in the first month. This is why it’s smart to ensure that you do have a budget and that you can manage this in a way that proves to be effective.
There are long term costs to think about as well as costs that will impact you in the short term. For instance, you might want to think about elements such as insurance. As we will discuss further down, this is a long term change to your life. Insurance may be affordable in the short term but it’s always going to increase in price as the animal ages. This is something to keep in mind when you are managing your budget for the animal.
What Role Will You Play As A Parent?
As mentioned, you should always think about the age of the child that you’re buying the pet for. If they are still young, then you are always going to have more of a significant or substantial role in terms of looking after and caring for the animal. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as it fits into your lifestyle requirements.
For instance, you might have a busy career life. If that’s the case, then you will still need to make sure that you can give enough of your time to the animal. For instance, you might be thinking about getting a lab retriever. You can learn more here but the main thing to remember about animals like this is that they will always require a lot of play and are very energetic. You can’t leave them to their own devices for the majority of the day. You need to be ready to be around and ensure that they get a few hours of your time. You might also need to supervise certain activities that your child is responsible for including walking the dog.
Is This A Long Term Commitment?
One final point to consider is whether or not you can commit to this possibility in the long term. You have probably heard the saying that a puppy isn’t just for christmas. Well, this is true for every type of animal at every time of year. You should never bring a pet home if you are thinking about things in the short term. It’s vital that you understand the impact that a pet is going to have on your family’s life. For instance, it’s going to make it more difficult to go on vacation. While not impossible, you will generally need to make sure that you are choosing a vacation plan that does not fit around the needs of the animal. Alternatively, you’ll need to think about exploring boarding options instead. This is just one of the ways that a pet will change your life in the long term. This means that it’s not just your child that needs to accept the long term commitment of an animal. You need to be aware of the changes it will bring too. Particularly if, as mentioned above, you are going to have a role to play here.
We hope this helps you understand some of the key questions that you should ask before you decide to get your child a pet. In doing so, you can make sure that you are considering the key issues here as well as the benefits before committing to a final decision. Remember, regardless of what pet you choose, this is always going to have a long term impact on your life and the life of your child.