Having a pet is a huge milestone in a child’s life. But is your child ready? Will a pet be a good fit for him or her? There are several things you should consider before making your decision.
First of all, does your child have allergies? If so, you will want to be sure that animals are not one of them. Your pediatrician can help you determine this.
Does your child have a fear of animals? Getting them a pet will not cure them and may in fact traumatize them. Make sure your child is comfortable around animals before you proceed.
Your child should have a desire to have an animal of their own and enjoy the companionship of animals. Are they asking for a pet? Do they talk about other’s animals when they get home from visiting a home with pets?
Are they responsible enough for a pet? Look at the other trademarks of their personality for clues. Do they remember to brush their teeth and hang up their towel without being told? Are they good about completing their chores? And a better question yet; are you ready to step in if they falter on pet care?
It is also wise to consider the timing of adding a pet to your family. Are things crazy busy? Is your child overly scheduled? If so, it may not be the best time to add one to the chaotic mix of your life.
On the other hand, sometimes getting a pet can be just the medicine needed for your child. If they have lost a best friend or went through a difficult school year, you can feel good about the friend they will make in Fido.
Whether or not to get a pet for your child is a complex question that should be considered on many angles. After all, you want to make the decision that is best for your family and the best expert on your child is you.