Pets for children: What you should know
"Mommy, I want a dog!" - most parents have probably heard this sentence before. For some, it should be a cat, a hamster or a mouse, while others want a horse directly. A "no" is difficult to accept and a "yes" usually means a lot of effort for the parents as well. After all, honestly, who sends their eight-year-old child out at night with a puppy? But which animals are actually suitable for children? And what advantages or disadvantages does a pet have for children? And how does the animal itself actually see this? Questions about questions that many parents ask themselves. We clarify!
Which animal for children?
Not every animal is a perfect match for every child and every situation of the parents. We have taken a closer look at the most common pets.
Many cats are great cuddling partners for children. Caution, however, with small children: Clumsy movements can frighten the little house cat, then it might extend its claws and this can be quite dangerous, especially for very small children. What cats also dislike at all are hunting games. A toddler that runs after the house cat with motivation is not at all funny for the kitten.
Dogs are great buddies for children. But also here applies: Your child should not be too small. Up to the age of eight, a child should never be alone in a room with a dog. From the same age, kids can also take on a few tasks and a little responsibility: feeding, a little walk around the room. But beware: the size of the four-legged friend is always crucial. A young Great Dane, for example, will certainly be a dangerous challenge for your protégé when kept on a leash.
Hamsters are super cute and funny guys! But beware: the hamster is a nocturnal animal. So it is difficult for peckers and hamsters to live together. When one of them wants to cuddle and play, the other one lies dormant in the hay and when it's time for bed, the hamster becomes active and runs through the wheel. However, if night activity is not a problem for you and your kids, a hamster is a good starter pet. The care of the rodent is clear and can also be done by the child.
The guinea pig
Guinea pigs are shy. Actually they are always on the run. So from day one on, reaching into the cage and grabbing the guinea pig does not work. But even guinea pigs can be tamed. How can they be tamed? Sure, with food. This requires stamina. The squirrel has a hard time feeding... uh... guinea pigs: Little by little, feed carefully from time to time out of the hand, then you'll have a human-rodent friendship. One good thing about it: your child will definitely learn patience and empathy along the way.
Such a long ear is a great companion for children, even for small children from the age of six. Not just because rabbits are simply super fluffy and really cute. No, they are also quite intelligent and many of them love to learn tricks. But what they don't find funny at all is being carried around. It's best to explain to your child directly that if a rabbit fidgets, scratches or grabs your child's teeth, his displeasure must be respected.
Why animals are good for children
Cuddles make not only us, but also our children happy. And who better to cuddle with than a pet? A special pro argument in favour of a household with a child and animals: children's social competence is enormously strengthened by dealing with animals. Your offspring will easily be taught a sense of responsibility and empathy. The presence of pets can also reduce the stress hormone cortisol. This is helpful for children with autism, for example. Children with developmental delays also benefit from being around animals.
What you should pay attention to before moving in with your pet
In any case, before moving in, you should remember that children can never be responsible for pets alone. If the pelt-nose has to go to the vet, mum and dad are needed. In general, the responsibility should never be in the hands of children alone. There are always phases in which parents have to provide support. Both to relieve their own protégé, but also to ensure that the animal's needs are all met. Additional tip: Make sure that none of you has an allergy. Because: Even worse than a "no" to the pet issue is to give the new friend back after a short time - for both child and pet.