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Happy Home: Living With Pets and Kids Simplified

May 04, 2019

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Your children may be getting to that age where they're always begging you for a pet. You may have given in and gotten whatever they asked for, only for it to turn out to be a disaster. Or you may be considering your choices before you make an addition to your family.

Either way, having a happy home is key to balancing your family life with pets. Here is some information about pets for kids and how to minimize conflict within the household.

What Are the Best Pets for Kids?

Having a pet in the home doesn't just make your children happy; it also helps them grow up to be better and healthier adults. Since pets are another member of the family, your kids can learn to be selfless, empathetic, and responsible while caring for another being.

Here are some good pets to consider getting for your children. Keep in mind that every household will be different, so what may be ideal in your friend's home may not be in yours.

Dogs

Dogs are very loyal and can be depended on to provide lots of love for every family member. They come in all different sizes and breeds, which means their personalities can have as big a range as humans. Dogs are great for kids because they're eager to please and form strong bonds with their companions.

Make sure you do your research to find out which breed is best for your living situation and personality. If you don't have much time to play around with or walk your dog, then you'll want to get a breed that doesn't have high energy.

Cats

Cats are a good choice if you want an independent pet. While there's a stereotype of cats being cold, some cats can be quite affectionate with people. Just like with dogs, there are many breeds of cats, which means there's at least a few that are ideal for your household.

While cats are more independent than dogs, your children can still get a lot of joy out of having a cat. You can also teach them responsibility by having them clean the litter box and feed the cats when it's time.

Small Animals

Small animals like hamsters, rats, and guinea pigs are ideal if you have cramped living quarters and/or don't want a free-range animal roaming around. All you need is to allocate an area in a room for the cage and play space.

These little critters are adorable and your kids are sure to fall in love with them. Again, they can learn to be responsible for another living creature by helping to clean the cages and feed the animals.

Reptiles or Amphibians

If your family has severe allergies and can't have any pets with fur, lizards and snakes are good choices. Your kids can still be in charge of feeding the pets, as well as cleaning and maintaining the tanks.

While you can't cuddle with cold-blooded pets, you can still have a nice time observing them in their environment. Plus, the chances for conflict between these pets and your kids are close to zero. These pets are also good to have if you have limited space in your home.

How to Deal with Light Allergies

Just because you or your family members have allergies doesn't mean you can't have pets. While it may be more difficult to maintain a household, there are some small steps you can take to make the living space more comfortable for everyone involved.

Liv ing with allergies and pets can be very doable. Not only can you get hypo-allergenic breeds, but you can also be proactive in preventing allergy symptoms. Some simple steps include washing your hands before and after handling animals, vacuuming regularly, and installing a HEPA filter.

How to Minimize Conflict

First, keeping your pets healthy and happy is one part of the equation to minimizing conflict. Make sure they're getting all their needs met, including the right diet and exercise.

Second, take a look at how your kids behave. Are they unruly and harass the pets a lot? Then take a moment to explain to them why the pets don't like their actions and teach them how to handle animals gently and patiently.

Third, if your pet is from a shelter, it may have come from a broken home. Often, they'll have trauma and unfortunately, you won't know all of their triggers.

You may be inadvertently performing an action that sets your pets off, so start taking notes on what seems to agitate them. Try altering your behavior and if it works, teach the techniques to your children so everyone can settle down when interacting with one another.

Don't Rule out Rehoming Your Pets

Having both children and pets in the home can be overwhelming, especially if neither is very disciplined. It's ok to admit defeat; you are human, after all.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your kids just aren't a good fit for the pets you've selected, and that's ok. It may be a better choice to rehome your pets rather than keep them and have everyone be miserable.

If your pets have behavioral problems and may potentially pose a threat to your family's safety, you have to make a judgment call. Assess whether their behavior can be rectified; if not, then the animals may be better off in a household without children.

Have a Happy Home with Pets and Kids

As you can see, it shouldn't be too difficult to keep a happy home, even with multiple kids and pets. So long as you teach your children good discipline and have good judgment on when to rehome a pet, then having additional members in your family should be a positive experience overall.

Need some tips on keeping your home clean and your family healthy? Then read this article.