Choosing a Family Pet

Having a family pet can be great fun and it can help reinforce positive behaviors as well as incite feelings of unconditional love. Pets can very much be a part of the family, and many families may already have a pet of some kind when a child is born.

When buying or adopting a pet, there are so many details to be worked out which is why this decision cannot be done on a whim.   For example knowing how it will be taken care of and whose responsibility that will be, not to mention whether you can afford food, accommodations and medical care for them as well. Here are some questions that you will want to consider before going ahead and choosing a family pet.

Who will be taking care of the pet?
Make sure that you have the time and resources to take care of a pet.  Pets need attention and care as much as a child and will need much of your time. Keep in mind that even If the responsibility falls on the children, parents will wind up doing a whole lot more depending on the age of the children.

What is the appropriate age for my child to get a pet?
It’s important to consider the age of your child before getting a pet.  If you are getting a pet for your child specifically, it is important that they are old enough to take on the responsibilities of doing so, and it is generally recommended that kids be of middle school age (around 12-14). Grade school kids may be able to help out, but it will most likely be more of a joint family effort.

Getting pets when your child, or children, are younger can be tricky, but it can be done. If you are new to pet ownership, it may be best to wait until your children are older. When children are small, you need to be aware of the potential dangers that are present – from the pet as well as your child. Certain pets may react towards children differently than others it all depends on personality.  Nevertheless, it is important that children and pets are always supervised, especially since they have the power to harm the other, even inadvertently.

What kind of pet should I get?
Some parents already have a pet in mind, in which case you should still do some research and find out if there are any breeds you should consider over others or if there are any potential risks that you may not be aware of. Additionally, it helps to look into scheduling or arranging meetings at shelters or wherever you are looking to get your pet from so that your child, as well as the whole family, can become acquainted first and see if you’ll all get along. Aside from that, there are many pets to choose from, of course, and making a decision can be quite daunting.

Dog. Dogs seem like the quintessential pet for the All American family. Dogs can help children develop strong bonds, especially since the animal-human relationship can be pretty intense when it comes to canines.

Cat.  Cats are great for cuddling, but they may not always be as social as dogs, so cats might make better pets for children who may not mind their occasional aloofness. Cats can often differ in personality, some acting very quiet and independent whereas others may have personalities that are just as outgoing and energetic as a dog’s.

Fish. Fish are a great way to introduce the idea of pet-ownership to children who have never had pets before. It is also a good way to help teach responsibility to younger children, before getting a dog or another pet that requires more hands-on care.

Hamsters or gerbils. These pets are smaller and often confined to cages, but they still require more maintenance than many parents may anticipate. They are also smaller and require a gentle hand, so you will need to consider whether your child is ready to handle a pet of this kind and size. It is also important to keep in mind that these pets do not often live very long, not much more than a few years.

Depending on your child’s interests, you might also consider pets such as birds, ferrets, lizards and so on, but again these pets generally require a very specific kind of care and attention.

No matter what, make sure that you know exactly what goes into caring for your pet, whether you or your child are going to be the one taking care of it, or if it is meant to be a collaborative family effort. Once you learn all you need to know and are aware of what it takes to own and care for a pet, you can benefit from all of the advantages of having one. Children can learn valuable lessons about friendship, family, and even about life. Although it is a tricky subject, death can often factor into the lives of pets depending on their lifespan and other issues that could develop and affect their health, and this can have a dramatic effect on children as well. This should not be a deterrent, however, and no matter how long pets are around for, they can become important parts of your family that yo
ur children will love and cherish forever, even long after they’re gone.

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Are You Ready for Back To School?

Back to school season is already upon us. Whether your children are starting school at the end of August or the beginning of September, the back to school flurry of activity can already have you in a tizzy – so how can you make the new transition easier? Here are some easy life hacks you can apply to your daily routine leading up to the first day of school and beyond to help ensure that you are prepared.

1. Attack the Lists. Whenever you get school supply lists, permission slips and other school forms, make sure that you tackle them ASAP. In regards to school supplies, certain items will sell-out fast, and waiting too long may only make finding certain things more difficult. Most schools release school supply lists around the same time, so try to make supply shopping a priority.

2. Pre-prep First Day (and First Week) Supplies.   From making sure that your child’s knapsack contains all of their classroom materials, setting out their first day’s outfit to prepping a week’s worth of breakfasts, there are plenty of things that you can do to make sure that the first week goes smoothly. The morning routine is the first thing that families often need to readjust to when school rolls back around after a long summer. As a parent, you likely have to get yourself ready first before the children, however, streamlining your morning routine, will at least let you rest easy knowing that the first, and often hardest part of the day is already taken care of.

3. Plan Ahead. Once you get your child’s new school schedule and the school calendar, try and post it somewhere noticeable and add it to the calendar on your phone or laptop as well. Set up reminders and alarms if there are events in the future that you need to be made aware of such as deadlines for permission slips, class trips, or if your child has a special activity, half-day or holiday in which you need to keep in mind.

Personalized Children’s Books

4. Make it a Habit. Planning ahead, staying organized and streamlining your routine can help you make the rest of the school year seamless. Many parents need some extra time getting started, but it can also be difficult to keep up with things as the year progresses. Therefore, make sure that you keep lists, begin morning prep after dinner or dessert for the next day, read notices and sign permission slips as soon as you see them, etc. Making habits of getting organized will make your life much easier, and it can even make breaking them more difficult!

5.    Set Rules/Procedures for the Year.  Set up a bedtime schedule, whether it be taking baths before bedtime, doing homework, setting up time for reading and enforcing a time that everyone should be in bed.  These rules however will take time to adjust as kids are so used to the summer time break.  We recommend implementing them a week or a few days before school starts so that the first day is not a shock for everyone.

Is Your Child Ready To Be Left Home Alone and Should You Leave Them?

There will come a time when parents are faced with the decision to leave their children at home on their own. Whether an emergency calls for the circumstance or your child asks to be trusted with the responsibility, a parent will be faced with this situation at some point. There are plenty of things that you need to consider.

Legal Factors
Is your child old enough to be left alone on their own?

Compliments of Kids

There are only three states in the US that require a child be of a certain age before being left at home alone. In Illinois, children need to be 14 years old in order to be left alone, in Maryland 8 and in Oregon 10. Just because the other states do not have any official age restriction does not mean that there aren’t other things that you need to consider. There are other child protection laws in place that you need to be aware of and you can look to these laws when it comes to determining when it may be appropriate for you to leave your children at home alone.

Taking on Responsibility
Are they mature enough?
If your state does not identify a certain age as being appropriate to leave a child at home, you will need to use your own discretion. Some children mature quicker than others, but as a parent you will need to use your judgement as well as your own knowledge and familiarity with your children to know whether or not they can handle being alone on their own. Children should be relatively self-sufficient, well-behaved and they should also know what to do in an emergency.

Being Prepared
Do they know what to do in the event of an emergency?
In the event that something should happen, it is important that you trust your children to take care of themselves and do the right thing. Do they know who to call in the event of an emergency? Do they know what numbers to call and what to say? Do they know what to do about strangers, people coming to the door, or answering the phone if it rings? These things are all good to know, and even though no one wants to think that anything will happen while they are away, it is always important that kids are prepared regardless.

Setting Ground Rules
What can or can’t they do?
You should also make sure that your kids know what is and isn’t allowed. Depending on their age and skill level, are they allowed to cook? Can they have friends over? Can they use the computer? And if they are watching younger siblings, make sure that they are aware of what the younger kids can and cannot do as well, and make sure that they know how to be authoritative and responsible in an appropriate way with younger siblings, as well.

There are many things that you need to keep in mind as a parent, and sometimes you will learn new things like rules and exceptions once you begin to experience letting your child stay at home alone. But remember, the most important thing is to trust and know your child before making any big decisions when it comes to giving them such a responsibility.

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