Having a pet is an essential experience for children. Caring for a living being and forming a bond with it has a profound impact on a child’s life. In addition to creating lasting memories, pets have numerous benefits for children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. A 2012 study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children exposed to cats and dogs had fewer respiratory tract and ear infections and lower antibiotic use.
The friendship between animals and humans is undeniable and significant. However, fostering a strong bond between children and pets may not happen naturally. Parents should take care to train their pets and children to ensure they get along well. Here are some tips to help parents to establish a loving and secure bond between their children and their pets:
1. Always Supervise
Children may be unintentionally impolite to animals. They may touch their pets’ face or eyes or suddenly jump on them. It is not safe to leave a very excited child or pet alone. As a result, parents should always keep a close eye on them, especially when introducing their pet to their child for the first time.
2. Teach Your Child That Your Pet Is Not a Toy
Children may treat pets like toys, getting too close to them and displaying affection that can irritate their pets. Behaviors like tugging toys or pulling tails may even make pets angry. Parents should explain to their child that their pet is a living creature with feelings, and they may not like some behaviors.
3. Teach Your Child the Pet’s Rules
Children may not know how to interact with pets and may inadvertently make mistakes when approaching them. As a result, parents should teach them how to behave around pets. Even the most docile pet may become anxious if a child pulls their tail or disturbs them while eating. It is critical to teach children about the rules for caring for their pet and ensure that they take responsibility for their care.
4. Keep It Clean
All pets shed hair, leaving messes and causing discomfort for children. Parents should vacuum the house frequently to remove any pet hair. Doing so will also teach children that owning a pet does not mean living with excessive fluff. Additionally, parents must keep their pets’ food and water bowls clean. They can even teach their child how to take on this task.
5. Train Your Pet
Even well-trained pets may not always welcome a new member of the family. Pets may even cause harm to a child if they get too excited and unaware of their size. Therefore, it is essential for pet owners to train their pets to behave appropriately around children. The process of training your pet to behave well towards your child will often require treats and rewards.
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