Children and Pets

A pet🐭 in the family can have many advantages for your child. From an educational point of view, pets🐹 can provide lessons about life – reproduction, birth, illnesses, accidents, death and bereavement. They can also help foster a sense of responsibility as your child learns to take care of their pet🐰. Emotionally, a positive relationship with a family pet🐦 can contribute to your child’s self-esteem and confidence, as well as encourage the development of trusting relationships with others. Non-verbal communication, compassion and empathy can also be fostered as your child learns about love❤️, loyalty and affection. Pets🐭 also provide comfort contact and can be safe recipients of secrets and private thoughts (children often talk to their pets, like they do to their stuffed toys).

Choosing an Appropriate Pet🐱🐶

All kinds of pets🐹 can bring pleasure to children, but it’s important to choose a pet🐰 that is right for your family, your lifestyle and your home environment. Dogs🐶 need a large, fenced section and plenty of attention. Choose a breed that is calm and patient. Cats🐱 don’t need fences, but a property on a busy main road is a high risk. Look for a cat🐱 that is friendly and likes to be petted. Smaller animals such as guinea pigs🐹 and rabbits🐰 can be good household pets, but young children will need close supervision. Small animals can easily be damaged if they are squeezed or dropped. They may also bolt if startled or hurt. Fish🐟 can be fun for children to watch but make sure you place the tank where children can’t climb up and fall in, or pull the tank over on themselves.

Safety Tips

Young children should always be supervised around pets🐱🐹. Teach your child these safety tips to protect them from harm and help them enjoy, respect and understand your family pet🐰.

 Walk slowly up to and away from animals.
 Learn your pets’ angry signals, i.e. ears back, hair standing out, hissing, growling, barking, showing their teeth etc.
 Handle pets or animals gently.
 Wash your hands🤲 after handling or petting an animal.

 Grab an animal by the feet, ears or tail.
 Poke or throw things at an animal.
 Tease or stare at an animal.
 Disturb an animal that is eating, sleeping or chewing on something.
 Run up to or away from an animal.
 Treat an animal like a toy.
 Approach or try to separate two animals fighting.
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