Just like your new pet will need some time to get used to his new home with you, the children in your family will have a transition period as they get to know their new buddy and how he will fit into your lives. Involve your kids in the process of deciding to get a pet and then choosing who the newest member of your family will be. Encourage them to ask questions, share their ideas, and express any concerns. Ahead of time—before your new pet comes home—talk about guidelines for helping your pet feel welcome and safe in your home:
- Help your kids think about how your new pet would appreciate being picked up and otherwise handled. Practice on a stuffed animal or other item so that they gain experience.
- Remind them that just like they don’t like being teased or picked on, neither do animals. They should always be treated with kindness and respect.
- Likewise, just like your kids probably don’t like it when someone takes something from them, neither do pets. Kids shouldn’t take chew toys or other items away from a pet when they’re interested in them.
- Remind them that just like getting a new pet is a learning situation for the humans in the family, your new pet will also be getting to know you and how your house works. A little patience from everyone will go a long way!