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Teaching Kids Healthy Habits Teaching Kids Healthy Habits

Monday Mantra: Pets Plus Kids Equal Lessons In Responsibility

Posted by on May. 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM
  • 47 Replies

"Mooooommmmm, can we get a dog?"

Who has heard this plea? Maybe it was a cat or a fish or a snake (gulp). Pets. We love them, for many of us, they are considered members of the family. For those with older kids, it is no problem, but when the kids are younger, how do you deal with the "I Want A Dog/Cat/Parakeet" event?

In my home, we have allergies (her: cats, me: any animal with fur, really), so we are limited to fish right now. We may venture into the amphibian territory (i.e. frogs) this summer, but that is still up for discussion.

Kiddo just turned five, and she understands the elements that go into having a fish: feeding FInners, checking on him, reminding me when we need to clean the tank.  Taking care of a pet, the fun parts and the not-so-fun parts, are great ways to teach responsibility and empathy. All week, we'll be talking pets and kids.

Before you get that fluffball feline home or head to the shelter to adopt a dog, talk about what all it takes to have a pet become part of the family. Get books (you will hear me say this a lot this week), read on the Internet about cat care or fish 101, prepare all of the kids for this adjustment, the work and the joys.

Another good idea, especially for younger kids, is to make a responsibility chart. Put down the days of the week along with each job that needs to be done to care for Roxie the puppy. Add pictures of what each job is (putting out water, feeding, cleaning, gathering toys and so on) and then the name of which child (or Mom or Dad) that has that job that day. It is an easy way to illustrate and see just how much it takes to care for a pet. And a good reminder for everyone.

Do you have pets? What kind?

 ÂŠ pekkak 

by on May. 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on May. 14, 2012 at 12:23 AM

I love dogs, but we do not have one (yet!). I graduated college yesterday and always told my daughter once I was finished with school & had a job we'd get one, so hopefully soon we'll be getting one :)

by on May. 14, 2012 at 5:49 AM

 We have three dogs in the house and a house cat.  Outside DH has hunting dogs and it's our oldest's responsibility to spray the kennels and feed them.

My two youngest help with the inside critters. 

by Sarah on May. 14, 2012 at 6:10 AM
We do not have any pets but are considering getting a dog. The kids are getting older and I do believe it would be good for them to learn responsibility
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by Nikki on May. 14, 2012 at 8:37 AM

We don't currently. We have had cats but I am not big on pets until the kids are bigger.

by on May. 14, 2012 at 8:53 AM
We have one cat
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by on May. 14, 2012 at 10:02 AM
We don't have any pets, but my dd desperately wants one.
by on May. 14, 2012 at 10:41 AM

we have 2 dogs. our hamster just passed away last month. but we have had fish, birds, all kinds of stuff

by on May. 14, 2012 at 10:58 AM

We have 2 cats. The kids help when I ask them to.

by on May. 14, 2012 at 11:03 AM

We have 2 cats and 2 German Shepherds.

by Member on May. 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM

We have 4 cats in our household, but my youngest son wants a dog. We have been considering and weighing our options. I don't think he is quite ready for a dog yet and neither am I. I like your chart idea though.

I'm thankful for a hubby that loves me, 4 healthy children, a warm
place to sleep and enough food for our meals... God bless America!

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