Everyone remembers their childhood dog they grew up with, bonds like that appear rarely throughout a lifetime. When choosing an animal for your family, you should take care in choosing an appropriate pet, the care for them, and the positive impacts your new pet will have on your children.
First, it can seem like a big decision to choose a pet for your family. There are a wide variety of animals that will bring your children joy, but first consider your home, your lifestyle, your family, and your children's age. Parents should especially be wary of exotic or irregular animals. They can require special veterinarians, extra expenses and specialized care. A cat or dog may be too big and too much responsibility for a child under 10 years old to care for properly, and aggression should also be a factor in choosing a new member of the family, as well.
Second, caring for your pet can sometimes be difficult to anticipate. Very young children cannot be trusted to control their impulses, so they must be under constant supervision when in the company of your new pet. Even when a parent is perfectly confident in their child's abilities to care for the pet, they should still be monitored. Be prepared to have the discussion about neglect with your children and agree to consequences if they are neglectful towards your pet.
Last, the advantages to bringing a new pet into your home can be endless. It has been shown that having a pet in the household can increase a child's self-esteem and confidence, along with developing a child's sense of empathy, compassion and non-verbal communication. A pet can provide a safe way to introduce abstract concepts to your children. For instance, life, reproduction, illness, accidents and death.
Your child and your pet can not only coexist, but learn to live and grow from each other. A few simple thoughts can help a bond last a lifetime.