Tips for Introducing Your Child to a New Pet
Introducing a new (furry) addition into your family is beneficial to everyone: children can learn responsibility from a young age and have a companion to be with them as they grow up. However, before you can get to the time of your kids and your pets taking care of each other and growing up together, you have to first introduce the new animal into your household. With young children, this involves teaching them how to responsibly and correctly handle an animal, and how to behave so as not to irritate or upset your pet.
This process does not have to be a difficult one, as it simply involves preparing your children for the introduction of their new pet into the home before it arrives in the home. They will undoubtedly be excited about the new addition to the family, so it is important to carefully explain to them how to take care of the puppy, cat, rabbit or other creature, so that it is not an overwhelming situation for everyone.
Here are a few more tips on how to introduce your child to a new pet:
Teach Them to Be Gentle
Probably the number one problem that young children have when they are introduced to animals is that they get excited and are too rough with their new furry best friend. This can kick things off on the wrong foot and can result in your child or your new pet getting hurt. Before your new hamster, guinea pig or other animal is even a permanent part of your family, teach your child how to properly handle them and what to do if the animal gets fidgety or anxious when being held.
Let them know that they should be calm and quiet around the new pet or else it might struggle against them holding it. Most importantly, teach your child how to approach an animal for the first time so as to instill trust between them: a closed fist or an open palm are good options allowing the pet to sniff the child before touching it.
Understand Warning Signs
No matter what type of animal you’re bringing into your home, it is your responsibility to understand the warning signs of when the pet might get aggressive and to remove your child from the situation. You should also teach your child a little bit about animal anxiety signs and have them be on the lookout for them as well, but ultimately this should be your responsibility, as your judgement is better than a child’s who is really excited about their new puppy or kitten.
Ears back, tail between legs, or cowering are all signs that the pet is uncomfortable and may be prone to snap at your child because of their anxiety. It might take a while for the cat or dog to fully warm up to its new human siblings, but once you have crossed that bridge your children and your pet will be best friends in no time.
Turn to Resources When You Need Them
If you have taught your child to be gentle with their pet and have learned all of the warnings signs, but are still having issues with your children and your pet assimilating, then there are some great resources that you can use to learn more about what you can do to make life smooth in your household. Websites like twitter have great accounts that are geared towards making life with pets as easy as possible. You could also bring in a domestic animal trainer in order to make sure that your child and your furry friend are safe and happy at home.
Welcoming a pet into your family is a joyous occasion that should be celebrated, but you should also be totally prepared for the day that you bring home your new fur-child. This means that you should educate your children on how to interact with their new best friend so that everyone is safe and happy in their home.