Building Trust – Keeping Kids and Pets Safe
The home should be a safe environment for everyone, including children and pets. Whether you’re welcoming a new baby, adopting a new pet, or having young visitors in your home, it can take some time for everyone to adjust. By being proactive you can create a harmonious environment for humans and animals alike.
For the Kids:
- Monitor children and pets who don’t know one another. Introductions should always be done under close adult supervision. Make sure your child knows to ask an adult for permission before approaching or touching any animal they don’t know.
- Teach kindness and respect. Simple things like showing children how and where to pet the animal, letting them know that animals have feelings, and asking them to not to touch your pet’s food or toys can go a long way.
- Talk about how animals communicate. Let your child know that if your cat or dog is growling, hissing, cowering, or trying to get away from them, they need to leave the animal alone.
For the Pets:
- Create safe zones for your pet. Make sure your pet has a place to eat and an area to sleep and relax where children know he should not be bothered.
- Allow your pet to decide whether to interact with children. Some animals are leery of kids since they tend to move fast and can be noisy. If their go-to response is avoidance, respect your pet’s wishes and try to create trust between the pet and the child over time.
- Intervene when play gets out of control. It doesn’t matter if it’s a child or a pet who gets a little too rambunctious – quickly calm the situation down so no one gets hurt.
Interactions with pets and other animals can be very beneficial to children. Caring for a pet can teach children empathy, kindness, and responsibility. Pets also provide companionship and even boost confidence and lower stress levels! By setting your children and your pets up for success, everyone will be able to enjoy their time together safely.
To learn about our humane education programs visit vbspca.com/education.