Children will after some time ask to keep a pet. Should you be prepared for one, then you as a family shall be happy. However, if you are not, it shall be tricky turning them down. The way you handle your response will determine their reaction while allowing you to be better prepared in future.
Your negative answer must be accompanied by a reasonable explanation
A simple response of no to their query will be met with protests, making all of you frustrated as they shall keep pestering you. A rational response will end the discussion. If there is a planned family activity such as a holiday coming up, kids will see the sense of postponing getting a pet. There is a chance they may not let the matter rest but come up with more reasons. They may also have researched on how to get you to say ‘yes’. Prepare accordingly.
Show them what it entails to look after a pet.
There are children who believe caring for a pet is no different from caring for their stuffed animals. When they are shown the kind of work they will have to do and the stress that goes with it, they are likely to tell you to put off the purchase. Prepare a detailed list of what it entails, make them review each item on it and point out which they can comfortably perform, and you’ll notice the hard ones like collecting pet poop will put them off. At this point, they should have made up their minds to postpone getting one.
Tell older kids your true reason
Older kids can delay their gratification better than young ones. After seeing how the world works, they will understand if you don’t have the money to buy one, or if they are going to college elsewhere far and will not be able to look after the pet.
Propose a different project
To satisfy their need for an activity, replace pet keeping with another appropriate project. To help them become better pet owners as time goes, suggest activities like taking care of the neighbors’ pets, or taking shifts volunteering at the animal shelter or working at a pet shop. Busy neighbors may also need them to walk their dogs, for a fee. This money could go towards purchasing their own, after they have gained enough experience.
Before deciding, find out what it will mean to own a pet, both for your kids and for you as parents, especially what the experience will teach the kids, then give them your answer to their request. It may turn out to be a great addition to your home. However you decide you need to be prepared before discussing with your children.