Taming Your Toddler Around Your Family Pet

Taming Your Toddler Around the Family PetThe bond between a child and a pet is a remarkable one, but how do you tame your toddler around your family pet and help keep both safe and happy?

Benefits of Pets for Toddlers:

Ever notice how confident a child is when reading a book or talking in baby babble to the family pet? Having a pet in your home can help your toddler with learning. Kids seem to be more relaxed around the family pet, rather than a family member.

Animals also help comfort kids–their soft texture and no-judgment personalities can be comforting to any toddler. Pets can help with health issues, too. According to the Medical College of Georgia, having multiple pets in your home can decrease the amount of allergies your toddler develops.

Teach your toddler responsibility while helping them learn to feed the family dog or give the family cat her daily treats. My home is the home of Kate, a 9-year-old brown tabby who would rather sleep than play. If my daughter just won’t leave the kitty alone, we use the opportunity to learn. She helps mommy by getting kitty her treats. She gets them out and puts them away. She is the one responsible for feeding them to kitty. Pets develop nurturers in young people and teach them about their world, one lick or bark at a time.

Tips on Taming Your Toddler:

Here are a few tips on how to tame your toddler around the family pet:

  • Lead by example. Show your little one how to treat the animal gently and with care.
  • Don’t punish when your little one lashes out. Be patient with your toddler. Remember, they’re still learning. Use the opportunity to teach.
  • Reward good behaviors. If you see your little one treat the family cat nicely or put up their treat bag, make a point to reward this behavior.
  • Teach using visual aids. Get your toddler a few fun animal toys and teach them how to take care of their pet. They will love the toy, and you will love the chance to show them something new.

When all else fails, remember that your family pet is a part of your family, but ultimately, your kids come first. We recently had to get rid of one of our cats due to issues at home. While it made me very sad, I also knew it was the best choice for our family at this time. The kitty has a new, loving home, and Johanna still has her other kitty to love on.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana who has always been a cat person. 

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