Family Pets & Teaching Children About Responsibility

family pet

If you don’t already have a family pet, your child has most likely expressed interest in having one. While an animal companion can be a perfect addition to any family, you must make sure the timing is right. Additionally, many parents allow a child to select a pet, with hopes of teaching responsibility, yet it’s still important to add a pet to your home only if you have the time and resources.

When is it the Right Time to Introduce a Pet?


Although the look on your child’s face, when he or she sees a cat or dog, may be priceless, you shouldn’t base a major family decision on “wants” alone. If you are a busy family, like many families, and aren’t home for the majority of the day, you should be careful about the type of animal you choose. While many families have a desire for dogs and cats, they need more attention throughout the day than animals like goldfish or hamsters.


While it’s not fair to call any animal a “starter” pet, there are some animals that may be easier to care for and are more suitable for younger children. Although some experts argue that no child, under the age of five, should be responsible for a pet, others agree that small animals like goldfish are perfect animal companions to start teaching responsibility.


If you already have dogs or cats in your home, it’s never too early to teach your child how to care for an animal. If you have younger children, never leave your child unattended with your beloved car or dog as a biting incident may occur. Younger children may not always know what’s appropriate or respectful behavior and it’s natural, for even the nicest of pets, to react negatively to pulling of fur or tails.

What Pets Can Teach Your Child


Whether your family has an aquarium full of fish, a parakeet, a guinea pig or a dog, your child can learn how to be respectful and responsible. By allowing your child to be part of the daily routine of feeding, watering, exercising, and cleaning up after the pet, he or she will understand that caring for a pet is more work than just having some fun when he or she wants.


In addition to teaching about being responsible for “life essentials” like food, family pets may also teach your child:


  • Compassion: Children of all ages should learn about and be reminded of compassion. Caring for a family pet allows children to look beyond themselves and focusing on the needs and well-being of the pet.
  • Self-Esteem: When children have responsibilities, their self-esteem can blossom. Knowing that they are excelling at feeding the cat, walking the dog, or cleaning out the gerbil’s cage, can encourage them to continue to take pride in what they do.


  • Get Active: Living and caring for an animal is a perfect way to get active. Encourage children to spend more time with the family pet than watching tv or engaging in “screen time”. Whether they’re walking the dog around the block or tossing a cat toy around the living room, your child is getting active.



  • Learning About Loss: Anyone who has ever had a pet knows how difficult it is to lose a beloved animal. While it’s never easy to see your child in pain, but he or she will also learn how to remember the good memories and how to cope with a significant loss.



Choose a family pet that everyone can enjoy and engage in responsibility. If your child really wants a snake, but you are terrified, wait until you know they are old enough to take for all responsibilities.


Family Pets : What To Consider

Family Pets

Family Pets can bring a tremendous jolt of joy to a family. Animals are fun, cute, and endlessly entertaining. Most children will be thrilled at the opportunity to share their home with a furry living creature.


A pet can provide many benefits for your family, but a pet can also become a burden in many ways. Families that thinking about pet ownership should weigh their option carefully; if you don’t think you can handle the responsibilities, you shouldn’t get a pet. Here are some of the things every family should know about the joys and troubles that a pet can bring into the living room.

Family Pets Bring Energy and Love

The best thing a pet brings to your home is love and happiness. Pretty much any family will benefit from having a cat or dog to share their space with. Kids, especially, will be constantly entertained by your pet; it’s like a living toy that moves and plays on its own. And kids will be fascinated watching a cat stalk around the house and solve puzzles. A pet will energize your family for sure. People who grow up with animals in the home are frequently joyful and fulfilled.  

Family Pets Teach Valuable Lessons

Having a pet can be a great teaching tool for kids. Pets need to be washed, walked, played with, and generally taken care of, even if you aren’t in the mood to do so. This sense of owing something back to another being can instill a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility in children. And of course, pets pass away, which can teach your kids about the inevitability of death. A dog will give your kids work to do, teach them about life’s mysteries, and make them realize that they’re not always the center of the world.  

Family Pets are a Lot of Work

Pets aren’t all fun and games. You will need to walk a dog and clean up after it every day, and sometimes even more often than that. Pets need food, and they need to be entertained. Sometimes they want to play when you’d rather be doing something else, and sometimes they’d prefer to sleep when you’d like to play. You won’t want to take a walk when it’s cold out and you’ve had a long day at work or school, but you’ll have to. Before getting a pet, make sure you and your family have strong communication skills and is going to be willing to give the animal the care it needs.

Family Pets Can Be Expensive

Pets need tons of care, and that care can cost a bundle. Vet visits are really not so different from medical visits, and your health insurance probably doesn’t extend to the family hamster. You have a responsibility to give your animal the best care they can get, so think twice about potential surprise veterinary costs that could pop up after you bring your animal home. Additionally, food and other daily living expenses can added up and leave a big mark in your pocketbook.