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Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer

8 Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer (via Babble)Remember when you got that dog/cat/bird/fish/turtle, and your kid SWORE she was going to totally take care of it? How’s that going?

If you’re still the only one scooping kitty litter, cleaning cages, or picking up dog poo, why not use this summer to teach your kids to take over some of those chores?

I’m not sure why this is the case, but it generally seems like kids don’t do as many chores as they did when I was a kid. I’m as guilty as the next mom of sometimes feeling like it’s just easier to do it myself, but participating in chores really does help kids feel like an important part of the family.

I think it’s also easy for us to slide into thinking “they’ll do that when they’re older.” But…they’re older now. Older than they were last summer, anyway. Kids are far more capable than we tend to think.

Chores teach them to be responsible and manage their time. In our house, we use a rotating chore chart so that no one is stuck with all the gross stuff all the time. Pet care activities are part of that chart. Sometimes it’s something fun, like brushing the cats (who do enjoy it), and something is something stinky, like scooping the litter.

Summer is the perfect time to step up your kids’ chores a notch. Without homework, even the busiest kids should have some downtime to learn something new. Instead of signing them up for yet another camp or class, why not teach them some valuable skills at home?

Here are some suggestions for ways your kids can help take care of your pets. And remember — when they’re really little, sometimes the help isn’t always helpful. But teaching them — and praising them — now means they’ll want to help when they’re older.

  • 8 Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer 1 of 9
    8 Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer (via Babble Pets)

    Click the arrows to scroll through some suggested ways your kids can more fully participate in taking care of family pets!

  • It’s like digging for buried treasure! 2 of 9
    Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer (via Babble)

     There is absolutely no reason why you should be the only one scooping that litter. If your kid is old enough to make a sand castle, he or she is old enough to scoop poop out of the litter box. Sure, for little kids you'll need to supervise, and obviously everyone should thoroughly wash their hands when the deed is done. 

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

  • Gross? Yes. Rocket science? No. 3 of 9
    Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer (via Babble)

    Like scooping the litter, cleaning up dog poo is gross, necessary, and not really all that difficult. Is your kid able to pick up a toy and put it in a bin? Yes? Then he can totally handle this task, too.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

  • Bathtime! 4 of 9
    Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer (via Babble)

    Washing the dog together is a classic family activity. Take the time to explain to older kids how often your dog needs a bath, and what you're trying to achieve: de-tangling the coat? Getting rid of funky dog smell? Treating a skin condition?

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

  • You look mahvelous, dahling. 5 of 9
    Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer (via Babble)

    Unless your pet has really long, matted fur, even really young kids can help brush. This activity is especially satisfying in the summer, when your pet is shedding.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

  • For older kiddos: Clipping those claws 6 of 9
    Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer (via Babble)

    Depending on your child's age, strength, and dexterity, (and also how insane your pet is), learning how to trim your pet's claws is a good activity. For my kids, this is an activity for those age 12 and up.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

  • Wash the food and water bowls. 7 of 9
    Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer (via Babble)

    Since you've probably already thought of having your kids help feed and water the pets, how about teaching them how to properly wash the pets' dishes? Keeping food and water bowls clean helps keep your pets healthy, and helps prevent gross cat chin acne in kitties.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

  • Clean the cage/crate/tank. 8 of 9
    Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer (via Babble)

    Have your kids help you wipe down your pet's crate, cage, tank, or whatever. Explain why it's important to clean and thoroughly dry the crate. Show them how to check for any loose or broken parts, loose seams, or stray stuffing from your dog's stuffed toys. Teach your kids how to use the washing machine and dryer to clean any washable bedding.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

  • Share the love. 9 of 9
    Pet Care Activities to Teach Your Kids This Summer (via Babble)

    Whether you have pets or not, another good way to gain pet care experience is to offer to help a neighbor, friend, or relative, especially an older person who may have trouble with tasks that involve lifting or potentially chasing a wet doggie.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

Read more from Joslyn on Babble and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow Joslyn on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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