prepare your child for their first pet

Getting a pet is a big commitment but one that can be so rewarding for the whole family. Animals can bring joy, warmth, love and excitement to a home but they also bring financial, emotional and time constrictions to what can already be a full house. One of the best ways to adapt to having a new pet is to ensure that everyone understand the commitment they will be making and the changes this will mean in advance, in other words you need to prepare your child for the their first pet instead of just surprising them with it if you want to avoid any unnecessary stress.

How to prepare your child for their first pet

Talk about it

When you start thinking about getting a pet talk about it as a family. Make sure everyone is on board and answer any questions they may have. Be sure to talk about both the exciting elements of owning a pet as well as the more mundane but essential things too. Explain that the pet will have needs and ow this work and be honest about what you will expect from your child in regards to meeting these needs. Will they be required to walk the dog, empty the cat litter, feed the rabbit, etc. If these needs are going to change the current day to day life of your child talk about that to avoid any upset

Read books

Another great way to help prepare your child for their first pet is to read books. Depending on their age you could either read these together or get them some books then can read independently. There are everything from factual how to guides for the older ones to books with purpose for the younger ones where they explore what life is like with certain pets. This will help reiterate the commitments that need to be made, how to behaviour around the new pet and what they can expect. Books with pictures are also a great way to help younger children visualise life with a pet.

Use interactive toys

For younger children getting them an interactive toy like the Baby Paws Cocker (other breeds also available) will help them to practice animal care in the run up to the new arrival. Not only are these toys the most adorable things ever but they also encourage your child to consider the pets needs. The Cocker comes with two accessories: A blanket with a pretty pink pattern to match its personality and an adorable dummy. This interactive dummy can open and shut its eyes to represent nap time and makes cute little noises too. They also weighs the same as a real puppy so your child can see what it will feel like to hold their new pet.

Baby Paws Cocker is perfect for teaching children the responsibility of having a pet, you can use it as a reminder to check on it throughout the day and start a routine where they are quiet around nap time and more fun at play time.

You can also download the Baby Paws app, and be guided by a vet, as your will go through different mini-games, which will help you learn how to care for their new puppy.

Meet similar animals

If this is the first time your child has been near pets then it is recommended that you introduce some hands on experience before you bring on in to your home. This will help with expectations and familiarity but it will also help you eliminate any allergies your child might have that you are not yet aware of as well as ruling out an fears. If possible plan in some meet and greet sessions with your actual pet before t is ready to come home but if this is not an option then find places where you can spend time with the same animal. This may be asking friends if you can borrow their pet for a bit, going to an animal sanctuary where they allow play sessions or visiting a small farm where they do handling sessions of animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs.

Make changes to the home

In order to prepare your child for their first pet it is a good idea to make the changes to the home prior to the bet arriving, especially for younger children so they can explore these changes safety and without upsetting the animal. This may include moving furniture around to add a dogs bed or cage or adding a litter tray near the back door. You might want to cover your beds and sofas with blankets, or rearrange the garden to accommodate for a hutch, what ever the changes doing them before the big day will help prepare your child. Not only that but having your house set up and ready for their arrival will help your new pet to settle in quickly too.