Children are a lot smarter and more independent than what most adults give them credit for. They can be their own person at such a young age, but some parents tend to look past that because they want to protect their children from harm, which isn’t really a bad thing, per se.
However, it becomes harmful when parents shield their kids from every little thing. There are two things that you should never become: a helicopter and a lawnmower. The names of these parenting styles might be funny, but they have real consequences for the kids who are at the receiving end of them.
Helicopter parenting refers to when parents hover over their children and involve themselves in every part of their lives. This can include their schoolwork, friends, and other activities. On the other hand, lawnmower parenting refers to when parents tear down all the hurdles in their children’s way, so they no longer have to jump over them.
While there’s nothing objectively wrong with wanting to protect your kids from failures and disappointments, you shouldn’t be keeping them from the experiences that can help them grow. Your kids need to fail and be disappointed because that’s how they will learn that in life, everything doesn’t always turn out how they expect them to be.
Fortunately, one of the best ways to teach them this valuable life lesson is by giving them a pet. With another being that depends on them, your kids will learn to become more responsible and independent. And here are three pet-related chores that you can give them, so they can assume responsibility:
Just like human beings, pets need to eat frequently because that’s where they get their nutrition and sustenance. Without access to healthy food or clean water, pets can grow weak, become sick, and in the worst-case scenario, eventually die because of starvation or dehydration. That’s why they need to be taken care of.
For instance, you get your children a pet dog. You can assign the responsibility of feeding your dog to your children, who have to take turns placing food at least twice or thrice a day. Most dogs only have to be fed every 12 hours, but you can also use the traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner schedule if you want.
You can also bring your kids along when you buy your pet food. There are many options to choose from, but you might want to get a raw dog food alternative in Singapore, which is better than the average kibble because they don’t have any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, making them healthier.
By sharing the responsibility of feeding the pet with your kids, you can teach them about what it’s like to be responsible for another life. That’s because if they forget to feed the dog, then it will grow hungry and potentially lash out, or it could become weak and sickly, which may have serious repercussions.
Since dogs eat and drink a lot throughout the day, of course, they’ll have to excrete them at some point. It takes a while for dogs to be formally house-trained, which means for the first few weeks or months in your house, your dog will be pooping and peeing everywhere because it doesn’t know that it shouldn’t yet.
And you won’t always be around to pick up after your dog, but this is exactly why it’s a teachable moment for your kids. You can teach them how to clean up after the dog every time it poops or pees, especially because not cleaning up will mean that your house will stink from the excretions.
By teaching your children how to properly clean up after the pet, you won’t have to worry about leaving them in charge when you’re busy with work or other responsibilities. This way, you’ll know that you won’t accidentally step on poop or slip on pee that hasn’t been cleaned up.
Lastly, dogs also need to exercise to stay in shape. This is often done by walking the dog every day, but exercise can also be through playing fetch, running, and other physical activities. Since walking the dog isn’t a big responsibility, like taking the dog to the vet, you can assign this chore to your kids.
Staying physically and mentally healthy is important to pets too. They need to be able to stretch their bodies, breathe in the fresh air, and relieve their stress, even if they can’t really verbalize those needs. That’s why you and your kids need to learn how your pet communicates so you can understand what it needs.
For example, dogs communicate through their body language. Dogs wag their tails when they are emotionally aroused, which could mean that they are excited or frustrated about something. The quicker it wags its tail, the more alert it is. On the other hand, slow wags often refer to a relaxed state.
If your kids want a pet, you have to make them understand that getting one means putting the responsibility on their shoulders. Tell them that you’ll get them a pet, but only under the condition that you’ll all share the responsibility of taking care of, feeding, cleaning after, and walking it every day.