Bringing pets into your preschooler’s life can improve their empathy, responsibility, sense of companionship, and more! However, you cannot take the decision to adopt or foster a pet lightly. Living with an animal is an around-the-clock labor of love for you and your child. Here are a few options to consider when deciding if you and your youngster are ready for a pet.
One of the most excellent benefits of adopting a pet is its ability to strengthen a child’s sense of responsibility. Some pets can be rather low maintenance—such as fish or hermit crabs, which get along fine in their own confined space. Larger pets—such as dogs, cats, or birds—often must be treated as your own miniature roommates. They require space, attention, and love. Therefore, in addition to pondering how a pet could improve your child’s sense of responsibility, you have to consider if they’re currently ready to take on that responsibility (and if you’re ready and available to take up the slack if they aren’t). Don’t let a Christmas puppy end up at the animal shelter by Easter!
This is another double-edged sword. Will a pet mesh well with your preschooler’s personality, and what pet’s personality is best for your home? Cats can be quiet, stand-offish, and independent. Dogs are loyal and lovable, but (depending on the breed) their personalities can run the entire spectrum. Fish are…well, fish. Take the time to consider what your child’s behavior is like and consider an animal that compliments that personality.
Something you’ll have to consider that a young child will never think about is the fact that this pet is potentially the first of many. Pets come into our lives for a short time—some shorter than others. Never look at a pet as a short-term animal. Lots of parents roll their eyes about smaller animals with shorter lifespans, but with the right amount of care and love, these pets can have a substantial impact on a child’s life.
A final consideration when thinking about getting a pet is the personal cost. Without getting into the moral argument about whether or not you should buy a pet at a store or adopt, remember that maintenance costs money. Even the smallest animals will always need food.
It’s true for many people that we’d do anything for our children’s happiness. But pets are looking for their forever home. To make sure it’s a great match, take the time to consider what adopting a pet will involve, and be sure to talk it over with your preschooler and family.
Want to learn more about Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of Greatwood located in Richmond, Texas? Our mission is to provide secure, nurturing, and educational environments for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. For more information, give us a call or stop by for a tour! We’d love to get to know you and your family.