Nagging kids to help care for pets can be exhausting. Whether your family has a cat, dog or purebred hamster, these three simple tips will help ensure your kids stay on top of their duties. This is where my kids would laugh and say, "Do you mean doody?"
How to Get Kids to Take Care of Pets Without Nagging in 3 Steps
Get kids to take care of pets without nagging:
1. Set cadence expectations.
Ensure you and your child are on the same page as to how often you expect the chore to be completed. Are they to scoop the cat litter box daily? Clean the fish tank weekly? Pick up dog droppings in the yard on Tuesdays? Make sure expectations are crystal clear.
2. Set chore guidelines.
If you are particular about HOW you want the task executed, work with your child to ensure they fully grasp the requirements of the chore. If the task is something more complicated, like cleaning a hamster cage for example, consider providing them a checklist for the chore while they learn to do it independently.
3. Prep realistic repercussions.
Let's be honest, we're not going to drop Fido off at the pound because Jimmy refuses to walk the dog. Don't make threats or suggest repercussions you won't follow through with. One of the best default statements is, "You're welcome to [insert request] after you've finished [pet chore]." Set this phrase on repeat until the chore is complete.
It is as easy as 1-2-3. Let's look at these tips in action.
SEE THESE TIPS IN ACTION
My ladies are eight and ten and they've recently taken on helping keep our cats' litter boxes clean. Before we get started, take a moment to meet my girls and our cats Pumpernickel and Mixer in the video below.
How sweet is this quartet of kids and cats?!?
Now this is where I openly admit that I am an overprotective parent. My girls could very well have started cleaning the litter boxes at an earlier age, but in all honesty, the litter dust has always made me uncomfortable. The thought of them breathing in all that dust while scooping drove me crazy. THIS is why I think Cat’s Pride® Fresh & Light® Ultimate Care™ ROCKS: it is 99.9% dust-free. How cool is that?
So, let's begin...
Our older cat Mixer was recently diagnosed with Kidney Disease. The poor lady is drinking massive amounts of water and urinating like it is going out of a style. This means extra-dirty litter boxes. Our girls know that we absolutely MUST clean our litter boxes (we have three) at least once a day. She has gotten quite particular about her box, so I was excited when I read this:
Not all lightweight litters are created equally. Some cat litter brands use lightweight fillers like paper or wood chips or light density rock that don’t absorb well, but Ultimate Care™ uses high absorbing clay — the same clay used to filter impurities out of cooking oils and absorb moisture from major league baseball fields. Because of its high absorbing clay, Ultimate Care™ doesn’t need to use heavy perfumes to control odor, which makes for a happy cat (cats can sense 100x what we do).
Our cat Mixer is a diva when it comes to litter. It is a good thing she is so darn sweet.
I went over the process I expect the girls to follow a few times with them before letting them roll solo. They like the way Ultimate Care forms super hard clumps that don’t break apart. We talked about proper disposal and the importance of washing hands after the chore. They know soap is expected with a thorough singing of ABC's as they scrub.
Let’s face it – even if Fresh & Light Ultimate Care makes scooping the litter box more pleasant, cleaning poop isn’t a glamorous job. We reiterate to the girls, "No one wants this job, STILL all cat owners have to do it." A little empathy goes a long way. Here are a few phrases that have been used at our house to ensure they follow through with their newly acquired chore:
- You're welcome to play video games, after you've cleaned the litter box.
- I'm happy to take you to your friend's house, after you've scooped the litter box.
- You're welcome to watch that TV show once the litter box is cleaned.
Generally, the repetition of this statement structure shuts down arguments pretty quickly. If you combine this "you're welcome to" statement with a consistent expectation, simple pet chores require little to no nagging.
P.S. So, why do we all deal with this less than glamorous chore? I think this about says it all:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above. This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”