Family pets are always a good source of fun and companionship. Not only do you develop bonds to your furry friend or family fish, but pets also offer have plenty of opportunities to help your kids learn life skills. Handing them a chore list can lack fun (and sometimes isn’t in the best interest of the pet). So why not create fun and meaningful lesson-teaching opportunities for both you and your kids?
Establish Sunday Coupon Time
Ask your kids to look through your newspaper’s Sunday coupon sections for pet care coupons. Younger kids might enjoy making it a game to see who can find the most each week. It’s also an opportunity to help teach basic reading words or simple math skills. Plus, who doesn’t love looking at the pictures of cute animals?
Pet Supply Shopping Trips
Have your kids go to the store with you when making your pet supply purchases. Give them the pet care coupons they found on Sunday and let them help find the products on the shelves. You can also ask them calculate the new costs of the product with coupon applied, and older kids can help keep track of the total costs of your purchases.
Schedule Family Walk Time
Grab the leash, corral the kids, ditch the cell phones on the kitchen counter and take Sparky for a family walk. Walking the dog is important for the health and happiness of your dog. It’s also a great opportunity to work on the health and happiness of your family. Set the example of responsibility for your kids by establishing a daily dog walking time. You’ll be getting exercise and fresh air while creating the perfect opportunity to interact as a family without today’s technological distractions. Older kids can hold the leash by themselves while younger ones can hold onto the middle and walk alongside you.
Playful Bath Time
Make your pet’s bath time a fun chore in the summertime by letting your kids make it a playful yet productive. If your dog is gentle and loves to play with water, let them help control the hose sprayer. Another option is letting them have play time with bubbles. The ASPCA recommends purchasing a dog-friendly bubble gun for kids and dogs to have fun catching bubbles while avoiding doggy stomach irritation.
Create New Games
Playtime is important for dogs and cats and a fun time to interact with your pet. Have your kids help you create new games for your pet, like peekaboo or fetch. Take them to the library to find kid-friendly books about their pet to get ideas or supervise internet time finding articles about pets on kid websites. When game time is over, ask them to help pick up and organize any toys in a designated location.
The most important thing when teaching responsibility through pet interactions is to remember what’s best for both your pet and your child. Here’s a handy list of chores that are good for kids and what to leave to the adults from Parents magazine.