Adding a furry friend to the family can mean mom gets yet another responsibility. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Families can use these simple tips and tricks to get their kiddos involved in the puppy parenting process. Whether you have a chore schedule already in place, or you’re new to sharing the load, these chores will help keep kids interested and having fun while teaching them responsibility as they care for their pet.
Some kids might not enjoy the idea of brushing their own hair, but give them a dog brush to gently groom your dog’s mane and they’re all over it. Make your fashionista especially happy by letting her pick out a bow or bandana for your pet.
Teach youngsters to alert you when the dog’s water or food bowls are empty. Let them assist you with filling them. Remind them that, just like humans need to eat and drink regularly, a dog also needs clean water and healthy food too.
Active dogs and active kids make a great mix. Have them start a game of chase or fetch with your furry family member in the backyard. Kids can also learn to pick up after the dog, making sure all the dog’s toys, balls, and Frisbees are stored properly at the end of the fun.
We all need exercise. Have your “two-leggers” take their dog on a walk around the block or visit a neighborhood park together. Giving an older child the leash can really make them feel like a “big kid.” Be sure to remind them to hold tightly when they encounter strangers or other animals along the way.
Pooper scoopers and doggy waste bags come in handy at public parks. Cleaning up after a pet teaches kids responsibility, and lets them know that even though pet ownership is fun, it can also be messy. Keep a personal-sized bottle of antibacterial gel handy for after the clean-up.
What’s more fun than a soapy bubble bath - one you get to give Fido of course. Smaller breeds may be fine in the family tub, but larger breeds may be better bathed in a kiddie pool in the backyard. Make sure kiddos are prepared to get a little wet themselves.
Above All Have Fun
Experts on PetMD.com remind parents to teach kids that owning a pet is a privilege not just a chore. Remind them of the consequences of not taking care of the dog, but be sure to praise them for their efforts when they step up to the plate. When kids see a happy dog’s tail wagging because they filled the food bowl all by themselves, they will be sure to find both pet ownership and taking responsibility rewarding.
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Kennan is a wife and stay-at-home mom to Jaxson, Caden, and Emilyn. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and has many years of experience as a writer and photographer. She now uses her skills to run Marken Media Co.(), a company she owns with her husband Marcus.