Pets and toddlers
Introducing a new member into your family is a huge step. For so long it was just you, your partner, and possibly your furry best friend. Your pet was probably somewhat like a first child (at least in your eyes) and you can’t wait for them to meet your newest family member!
Imagining all of the cuddles, kisses, and playing they will do together warms your heart. Or, on the flip side, maybe you are itching to bring a pet into your family and introduce it to your toddler. You might wonder though, what will life really be like with a toddler and a pet? Well, let’s see…
What are the advantages of having a pet for your child?
Research has shown if you raise a child with a pet, there are multiple benefits. Self-confidence and self-esteem are shown to be boosted around pets. Meanwhile, as they become attached to the relationship, they learn and develop trust. With this comes compassion, empathy, and stronger communication skills. A pet is your best friend and as a kid, they can really help to be a shoulder to lean on, provide responsibility, and teach respect.
Anyone who had one remembers their childhood pet with loving memories. The experience of growing up alongside your sweet companion is incomparable. Positive development has been linked to these connections.
How do I care for a pet with my toddler?
There are few guidelines to stick to when considering your toddler and pet:
- Never leave them alone together. This is the #1 rule with pet-owning. At this age, your toddler hasn’t yet developed the appropriate behaviour and maturity to be alone with your pet.
- Teach your tot to approach your pet with care. Teach them not to approach from behind, rather from the side.
- Let your tot know that when your pet is sleeping they should be mindful and to leave them alone.
- Make sure to buy a baby gate to keep them separate when need be. It can be a good time away when they’ve riled each other up too much.
- Show them the proper ways to care for your pet, especially the gentle way to show affection.
- If it’s a dog, train them to listen to and act on commands
Having a pet in your family is a perfect way to teach some great lessons to your tot. They will learn a whole range of ways to show love and respect. Start picking out which kind of animal will work well for your family and get creative with those names – you’ll be calling it out a lot!