Bringing a new pet into the home is a lovely way to give your children—and you—a new companion. They’ll have the opportunity to learn new life skills while caring for a living, breathing animal. It’s also a chance for them to learn some real responsibility. But, before a child can be left unsupervised with an animal, you’ll need to teach them a few essential care skills.

Handling Animals With Care

A child may initially see a pet as a new toy to play with as rough as they see fit. Just as kids often have to be adjusted to handling new siblings gently, they’ll likely have to be taught to touch and act with empathy with their pets. A new family pet is a wonderful way to encourage children to consider the feelings of others and whether or not they’re causing harm or joy. This awareness can ultimately improve their relationship with their parents and siblings.

Daily Feeding and Walking Schedule

The responsibility of taking care of a new pet includes the routine food and water needs as well as walks if necessary. Just as they have to go to school, do their homework and complete their daily chores, your children will also have to adjust to taking care of the animal’s needs. Depending on the child’s age, you can show them how to feed an animal and when to give them treats. More responsibility can be given as they get older and prove to be a reliable caretaker.

Essential First Aid

You and your child should know how to apply first aid to your family pet in emergency situations. Over-the-counter pet wound care kits give your household the essentials to quickly take care of an animal in any basic injury situation. From burns to scratches to thorns, you can walk your child through basic injuries and what should be used from the over-the-counter pet wound care kit.

Self-Awareness and Expectations

A new family pet is one of the best opportunities to teach a child how to manage their expectations. Pets bolster a child’s confidence by providing endless friendship and companionship. Prepare your children to expect more from their pets than their toys. Living creatures can act unpredictably and much differently than you expect. Children need to learn how to react appropriately when things don’t go their way and moderate their emotions.

New pets are a wonderful addition to the family that bring boundless love and many exciting learning opportunities.