Teaching Kids to Feed the Family Pet

Our children have several pets, as we live in a rural area. We have gotten them bunnies (at their request) a cat (which is very loving), two dogs (who are basically ignored now that they are adults), two cockatiels (also ignored) and a new guinea pig. Every animal was begged for, and we now have to remind the kids to even feed them. They complain about taking care of them and argue when confronted about ignoring them. Other than getting rid of these animals, how do you get kids to spend time with their critters? --thinkingmom

Lisa Rosenthal suggests:
Making care time fun is a challenge and the best way to get chores done. Your kids can put on their bathing suits and get wet with your dogs when its warm out and the dogs need baths. Writing a dog-day story is a great way to help your kids exercise their creative writing skills and get exercise with the dogs. Making dog treats is another fun activity that they can do alone and then share with the dog (the treat recipes in my book are safe for kids to eat, except for the dog food cake made with real dog food).

Sometimes boredom comes from not knowing enough about a subject. Educating your kids about how fascinating all your pets are (such as how they think or how to interpret their body language) will make them more exciting creatures for your kids. Read books that will introduce your kids to the fascinating world of animals. Yes, my book is a good resource, but there are others, too. Also, my book has a reading list in the back that will give your kids a lot of choices for books to read that will help increase their levels of compassion and interest in their four-legged friends.

Lisa Rosenthal is the author of A Dog’s Best Friend: An Activity Book for Kids. She’s been a pet owner all her life. Her four-legged friends include Peanut, Molly, Streak, Max, Sundance, Little One and Thumper.

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