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  • How To Introduce Your Child To A New Pet For The First Time

    So, maybe you have had lots of animals in the past. Cats, dogs, rabbits... you name it, you've had it. But then you started having kids instead and the pet thing just kind of stopped? Yes, many people stop having pets once they have had children, believing the mix to be more hassle than it is worth. But it doesn't have to be.

    RELATED: Science Finds Dog Owners Are More Active In General

    Believe it or not, children and animals actually go together rather well, with a brand new pet often ideal for teaching youngsters how to behave properly and treat other living things. Plus, children and animals can form deep friendships that adults just can't seem to replicate with their pets. Here are 10 ways to introduce your child to a new pet for the first time.

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    Choose The Right Pet

    When you have decided that you are going to get a pet, it is important to think about what kind of animal you want to bring into your house. For larger families, dogs are better mostly due to the fact that they usually enjoy lots of attention and plenty of cuddles.

    The bigger the dog the better, in some cases, with German Shepherds, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers all family favorites. If you are thinking about getting a cat or a smaller animal, make sure you find the right one for you and your family by meeting the little one before you take them home with you.

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    Gentle Hands

    It is important to teach your children to be gentle from the very beginning, especially when first introducing them to one another. Yes, whether your pet is big or small, your kid must be aware of what they are doing with their hands.

    Try asking them to practice on you first by getting your child to gently touch your hair or stroke your face. By doing so, you can monitor how heavy-handed they are and change their petting method if needed. This will help prepare your child when first approaching their new furry friend.

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    Supervise

    Always supervise your children when you first introduce them to the latest addition of the family. They might inadvertently harm the animal, or they might do something by accident that could cause the animal to harm them.

    RELATED: 5 Low Energy Dog Breeds Perfect For Busy Families

    Supervision should go on for at least a few weeks, or until you are certain that your child knows how to approach and touch your pet. Plus, it helps ease your mind a little when you know that both parties are fine with one another and that nothing bad could happen when you are not around.

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    Allow The Animal To Adjust

    When you get a new pet it can be easy to smother the little cutie with affection from the get-go. However, it is important to let your pet settle in first, without it being constantly hassled by its new humans. Animals need a lot of time, especially when moving in with a new family.

    So, if you find that your new pet has hidden under the bed or away in a dark room, leave it there and don't bother it until it makes the decision to come out itself. Also, don't worry, this is completely normal and your pet will soon make itself at home.

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    Let Your Child Help Out

    Worried about all the extra jobs around the house? Don't worry, let your kids do it instead. That's right, allowing your children the chance to help look after the latest addition to the house is a great way to teach house jobs and chores.

    RELATED: DoggieLawn Is A Litter Box For Dogs

    From feeding time to cleaning and emptying litter trays etc, this manual work can really give kids experience in looking after living things and the responsibilities involved. Plus, it helps both the little one and the little animal bond. However, always make sure they wash their hands afterwards as most animals can be rather mucky!

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    Set Rules

    Every household needs rules, especially concerning young kids and animals. Setting rules for both your child and your pet can be a great way to introduce your children to the rules and regulations of daily life, plus it can give your new pet a chance to chill out without the constant attention of your little one.

    Try giving your kid select times in the day when they can bother the animal and make sure they leave them alone when they are sleeping or eating. Make sure that walk times (if it is a dog) and feeding time are at the same time every day, as routine can also be important for both child and pet.

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    Body Language

    Body language is key when introducing a new pet into the house, especially when it comes to interacting with it. It is hard to predict how an animal will behave, so try to make sure you and your child are as non-threatening as possible. This can be done by crouching down to the level of your pet as well as softening your tone when speaking to it.

    RELATED: 10 Best Pets For Kids

    Plus, it is not just the human body language that is important. Try studying the different positions and body language of the animal you are intending to buy, which can hopefully give you a heads up on their mood.

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    Keep Calm

    Young kids get especially excited when they see animals and do their very best to poke, touch and pet anything that comes into sight. However, it is important to encourage your children to be as calm possible when they are first introduced to the new pet and to keep that calm attitude as time goes on.

    Plus, it is not just the kid that needs to be calm. If the animal does something that might scare you or panic you, try not to freak out. If you do, this fear will pass onto your child, who will only mimic your behavior and then become frightened themselves.

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    Be Nice

    From the very beginning, it is important to teach your child to be nice to the pet and never mean. Explain that this animal is a part of your family and in no way secondary to any of the family members.

    Sometimes, children can get irritated if the animal does not want to play or succumb to their needs. However, make sure you tell your child that they must be patient and let the animal come to them. The animal will respond positively and could end up being your child's best friend.

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    Remember It Is A Commitment 

    The most important rule of all is to remember that buying a pet is a commitment and not something that should be taken lightly. Time and time again, people adopt or buy animals only to soon realize that the animal in question doesn't quite fit right into their family. Make sure you are certain about which pet to get and how to fit that animal into your family life.

    For instance, getting a pet and then suddenly giving it away can have a terrible effect on a young child and could also end up teaching them some not-so-great morals.

    NEXT: EXCLUSIVE: 'The Secret Life Of Pets 2' Highlights The Power Of Teamwork, Perseverance, And Overcoming Fear

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