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Animals and Preschoolers

Posted on 07-28-2017

If you’re considering getting a pet and you also have a small child, there are many things to consider. While pets are a great way to teach children about caring, friendship, and responsibility, the introductory process can be a little tricky. Every child and every animal is different, so take some preliminary steps in order to make the adoption process as fun and smooth as possible.

Don’t rush it

Going too fast with a new pet can lead to disaster easily—some animals get very skittish in an unfamiliar environment, especially around small children. Additionally, some preschoolers may get nervous or intimidated by the sight of an animal they’ve never interacted with before. Animals can also be unpredictable, so taking the process slowly is the best way to go. The introduction of a new animal can be as gradual as you need it to be—starting from just showing your children pictures of the animal or taking them to an animal shelter where they can play in a safe environment. Another good idea is to let them play with a trusted friend’s pet in order to instill the idea that animals are friendly and familiar to others your children know. Remember: never leave your children and a new animal alone in a room together.

Talk about do’s and don’ts beforehand

Express to your preschoolers that animals have feelings just like people do and can feel pain and happiness. Go through the steps of how to approach an animal many times with your children—like putting their hands out and allowing the animal to smell them first and showing them safe places to pet the animal. Remind your little ones not to pull on any tails or whiskers. You can even practice on stuffed animals or a family member’s or friend’s animal.

Prepare your animal

There are also steps you can take with the animal to prepare it to meet your children. When selecting your animal, do research. When it comes to dogs, you’ll want to know what breeds do well with children and how extensive their needs are when it comes to attention. Some animals do not take well to competing for their owner’s attention with a child. Other breeds, however, are great with children and have very gentle natures.

Overall, past experiences are most important when it comes to a dog’s personality and response to children. Talk to the shelter about the animal you’re considering. Inquire about it’s past and even look into an animal that has been fostered before, which is a great way to give an animal who has already been exposed to small children a permanent home.

Want to learn more about Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy of West Frisco and Legacy West located in Texas? Our mission is to provide secure, nurturing, and educational environments for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. For more information, give us a call or stop by for a tour! We’d love to get to know you and your family. 

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