Time and time again, we have met families who have brought a pet into their lives so their kids can get a sibling or to teach children about the responsibilities of taking care of another life. Albeit, a good thought, one also needs to know how and in what ways kids can help with caring for their pets. It's never too late to start getting kids involved in the daily pet related chores and we have a few ideas here that could help parents kickstart this process.
Meals & water prep. Nowadays pet parents have begun making food at home for their pets be it meat based or wholesome treats for their pets. This does not mean kids have to be mere spectators in the process; they will always love to stuff treats into kong toys or top up the bowls with food. These are not arduous, grimy or time consuming activities and moreover, they are absolutely safe for the kids to do as it does not involve direct interactions with the dogs (prepping bowls, but not feeding from the hands)
Training. No matter how old or how new, dogs will need to have some daily training sessions that can even last a couple of minutes at multiple times of the day. These are not just obedience commands, but can also be playing a game of hide & seek or a game of fetch that will reinforce recall commands in the most fun manner. Getting kids to lead these activities will not only give the kids a dopamine hit, but it definitely goes a long way in strengthening their bonds with the pets.
Grooming. One of our favorites! Kids love to touch their dogs and dogs will need to be trained to be touched and brushed frequently. Once the dogs are accustomed to their coats being brushed, kids can get involved in the grooming process. Let's try and avoid any teeth brushing or nail clipping activities as these can be tricky for little ones.
- Scavenger hunts. Kids can also hide treats or toys around the house for the dogs to sniff out and make a fun game of the dogs using their noses while loving it that their tiny humans are playing along with them. It is a great way for kids to get moving around the house too with their furry buddies
Although as parents we maybe excited with these ideas, make sure you are always observing the interactions between young children and the pets. Until you are sure of your pet's behaviour, it is best you do not attempt to give your children 100% responsibility over anything that may cause an untoward incident. However, watching kids take on more responsibility while engaging positively the dog is one of the most gratifying things for parents and we will love to help you in this journey!