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Pets are not only part of the family, they are often the child’s best friend. To a pet, a child can pour out his heart without being judged or laughed at. They give psychological support and are confidants when it comes to secrets.
Pets like dogs or cats show their affection openly and give children the positive experiences they often don’t get in school and everyday life.
Why Your Child Needs A Pet
Your child gets the opportunity to express love and warmth through pets. At first, this may sound a bit strange, so let’s take a closer look at this aspect.
Every animal (with the exception of fish) enjoys physical closeness and caresses. If your child has a dog, a cat, or a rabbit, there will always be moments when he or she gently strokes the animal’s fur.
At this moment, the child’s body relaxes. Indeed, expressing affection is only possible when the body and mind are peaceful and relaxed. If this is not the case, the animal will resist the touch and even scratch or bite.
The loving touch triggers happiness hormones in the child. It gets the opportunity to do something good for a living being. That is, it is allowed to express love, understanding, closeness, and warmth. And honestly – when do children today still have the opportunity to do this?
Pets Bring Your Child Into The Present
It is not for nothing that animals are used in the therapeutic field. It’s not just about what the animal gives to the person. It is much more important what the child is allowed to express at that moment and that the animal’s reactions are without judgment.
In our society, children are stressed at a young age. Every day they are faced with the question of how they have to be and what they have to be able to do in order to meet performance-oriented demands.
In contrast, animals live in the now. They bring your child into feeling. This is important because often children are emotionally hurt by interactions in daycare centers and at school and close themselves off to their feelings. Aggressiveness or inner withdrawal is the result. A pet accepts your child unconditionally.
It does not ask whether it wears the latest fashion or how it stands in school. Nowadays, children hardly ever experience this form of acceptance. Praise and rewards are given for performance or positive behavior, which adults define.
Being a child is tied to ideas and far too rarely can children meet these demands of the outside world. That’s why low-maintenance pets are so important. Not only so that your child learns to take responsibility for a living being. But so that it has a friend with whom it can be as it originally is.
Cuddly And Easy To Care For – Finding The Right Pet
In any case, several aspects must be considered when deciding on a suitable pet. In the following you will learn what you should look for when choosing:
- Size of the animal and space in the apartment.
- Preferences of your child.
- Is the pet easy to care for?
- Who will mainly take care of the pet?
- Age of your child.
- How much time can be spent on the animal.
- Keeping costs.
These are just a few key points to consider when deciding on low-maintenance pets. In addition, when choosing a dog or cat, the breed with its special needs and the character of the animal must also be considered.
You should consider whether and how an animal will fit into the family. Does the cat have to stay in the house or can it live as a free roamer? Does your family have time for an active dog? Is a family member able to go out with the dog several times a day for extended walks?
So it’s not just about your child’s needs and wants, but also whether your family can provide a good home for an animal. With everything it needs as a pet.
Not only food, but exercise and attention. In a nutshell, this means: Do you have enough time for low-maintenance pets, not only to care for them, but also to love them?
How Much Space And Attention Do Low-Maintenance Pets Need?
Many children want larger pets like a dog or cat. With these four-legged friends, you need to realize from the start that most of the work will fall on you while your children are young.
When they enter their teens, chores such as daily feeding or taking the dog out become a chore. During these times, you as an adult need to step in and be there for low-maintenance pets as well.
Before you get to that point, the space issue must first be resolved. How much space is available for the future pet. Large dogs, for example, do not belong in small new apartments in the middle of the big city, where there are no opportunities for multiple, long walks per day.
Likewise, dogs should not have to be alone all day. The point is not to have a dog, but to care for an animal. Rabbits, hamsters, turtles, or mice, on the other hand, are low-maintenance pets whose requirements in terms of care and exercise are not so great.
Nevertheless, larger small mammals should be able to get out on the lawn in the summer. Turtles are not very fast, but even in this species, there are specimens that like to be on the move and need their run.
The bigger the pets for children are, the more care and attention they need. Therefore, you need to clarify in advance how much time and space is available for the new housemate.
Easy-care Pets Or Fulfill The Wish Of The Child?
Hamsters or guinea pigs are low-maintenance pets that can be kept even in a small apartment. A large enclosure and an additional run offer the rodents good living conditions. But what if your child would rather have a dog and wants one with all his heart?
In many cases, small rodents are the replacement for pets that cannot be kept due to space or time constraints. Of course, you want to fulfill your child’s wish of having a pet. However, if a dog or cat is not possible, a replacement pet should not be purchased.
A hamster is not a dog and your child will not develop a real bond with this animal if he or she actually wants a large four-legged friend. In this case, you should give the child the opportunity to take care of neighbor dogs, adopt one, or help out at the animal shelter.
Your child is attracted to an animal for very specific reasons. Some kids are happy with a turtle and couldn’t do anything with a dog. That’s why it’s important to listen to your child’s wishes.
At What Age Are Pets Appropriate For Children?
This question cannot be answered in a general way. Every child develops in an individual way and is ready for a pet of his or her own at a different time. The fact is, the younger your child is, the more you will have to intervene and take care of the pet.
If the pets are small and easy to care for, such as hamsters, guinea pigs, or mice, it’s more about watching them. Feeding and cleaning the cage is where your assistance comes in, and that’s all the help they need.
Pets like dogs and cats, on the other hand, require much more care and attention. Small children cannot yet go out alone with a dog, and with cats you must make sure that your child respects their quiet times.
While dogs constantly seek human proximity and want to join in on all activities, a cat needs to have its quiet time and only get petting time when it demands it. Therefore, cats are unsuitable for temperamental and noisy children.
If your child is to grow up with an animal, it can be integrated into the family at an early stage if you take care of the pet. If you want to put the responsibility in the hands of your child, the younger the child is, the easier it should be to care for the pet.
You know best what you can trust your child with. Do not try to force responsibility. You will meet resistance and your child will lose interest in the pet.
Even Low-maintenance Pets Need Attention And Time
Once it is clear which pet fits into the family based on the child’s preferences and the space available, the time factor needs to be reconsidered. Even low-maintenance pets are living beings that need daily attention.
Therefore, it must be determined in advance that there will be playtimes when the child will take care of the pets. Fixed time periods are certainly not practical, as animals do not live by the clock. However, it should be clear that a dog needs to be walked when your child gets out of school or the cat gets its petting as soon as it strokes a family member’s legs.
Pets are new members of the family and must be treated as such. They are not toys, but living beings that need care. You can’t put them aside when you don’t feel like having them. Even low-maintenance pets need more than food and a clean dwelling.
Pets are a wonderful way for children to learn about and protect natural life. Their own perception is expanded from the self to another living creature. This is the basic prerequisite for getting in touch with others.
One’s own world, which until now has revolved around the child and the family, is expanded. This should happen without pressure and under loving guidance so that the maturing of the child’s personality can become a positive experience.
The New Pet Moves In
Once pets are a done deal for the children, preparations for moving in can be made. Larger animals will need a sleeping basket or pillow, and for smaller and low-maintenance pets, a cage and litter will need to be purchased.
For hamsters and mice, very large cages and running wheels should be a given, as these small mammals need plenty of exercises. Around the cage should be the possibility of a safe free-range area, where the animals can additionally romp.
Once the pet has moved in, it first needs to rest in order to arrive. It is best to sit with your child and watch the animal. Only a dog will first make contact with people, all other four-legged friends will first explore their surroundings.
After only a few hours, the animal will find its way around the apartment or its cage. Hamsters will burrow into the sawdust after the stress of moving and take their first nap.
A cat will look for a safe place for itself and watch what is happening from there. A dog, on the other hand, will not leave your side, as it is much more attached to humans than other pets.
When the animal begins to eat, it has arrived. Still hold your child back if he or she wants to touch the new family member all the time. Physical contact intensifies over the next few days. First, the four-legged friend has to process all the impressions of moving into a new home. The bond with the human comes only afterward.
Pets Are An Enrichment For Children
At a time when cows are purple to many children and they are becoming increasingly removed from nature, pets are important family members. Whether they’re low-maintenance or time-consuming, fish, birds, or four-legged friends, we learn the most from nature.
Pets put us back in touch with ourselves. They ensure that mindfulness, compassion and a sense of responsibility awaken in children. They help us relieve the stress that we create ourselves in a hectic world full of demands.
Pets bring us back to the present. To what really matters and is important. If pets are possible for the children, they should definitely be allowed to have this experience.