South Croydon Nursery Abbey Wood talks about benefits of owning a Pet 

South Croydon Nursery Abbey Wood Grange believes that welcoming a pet into your home can be an extremely positive experience, offering many learning and development opportunities. With the animal often being referred to as ‘one of the family’.

Abbey Wood Grange Manager Cheryl talks about how with careful guidance from a parent, children will learn to be respectful of animals enabling them to become more caring, compassionate and responsible.  

South Croydon Nursery Abbey Wood are proud owners of Steve, their much loved Syrian Hamster who provides the children with much love and joy. All the children enjoy taking a role in his care, whether it be chopping up some fruit, changing his water or being extra careful when Steve is having some exercise outside, in his ball. 

Steve has provided conversation and in turn language development as well as an understanding of how to care for a pet. 

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Pets can develop children’s confidence, boosting self-esteem as a child is more likely to confide in an animal in ways they would not with people, they will often be more willing to complete or try new tasks they may otherwise shy away from simply because the animal will not judge.

Animals help to break down barriers and engage in conversation, helping to overcome shyness and facilitate friendships. 

Although there are huge benefits to owning a pet they also come with a varying degree of responsibility and financial implications depending on the animal.

Before deciding to take on the responsibility of owning a pet it is important to ask yourself the following;

  • Can you commit? Pet ownership is a long term commitment Dogs and cats have an average life span of 10-15 years. Would you be able to commit to them for such a long time? Dogs and cats require a lot of attention. If you feel that you can’t devote your time to a pet choosing a pet such as a fish may be a better option as they are less time demanding. 

  • Can you afford? Owning a pet can be costly.  Food, grooming, toys, veterinary care and treatment are the expenses you can’t avoid if you own a dog or cat. Owning a fish is less costly compared to other pets.

  • Will a pet fit into your lifestyle? If you have long working hours, a busy social life and you travel a lot, think twice before getting a pet like a dog and a cat. They require constant attention and need you to play and interact with them constantly. Solitude can lead to serious behavioural problems. Make sure your pet can accommodate your lifestyle.

  • Do your research- Do research beforehand on the pet you wish to get. Pet care for instance, requires a great deal of knowledge. Grooming, nutrition tips and safety are all things you need to know before you get a pet dog or cat. Pet shops and rescue centres can also provide lots of information and an insight into what it is like to own a pet, with some even offering meet and greet sessions. The RSPCA and other rescue centres will also host open days or fundraising events.

  • Allergies- Make sure you or your family don’t have allergies towards fur and animals. If you are not sure whether you or your children are allergic to cats and dogs, spend time at your friend’s house with a pet to find out.

South Croydon Nursery Abbey Wood Grange say that getting a family pet should be a fun and exciting time for all, with everyone taking a share of the responsibility. Before making the decision to get a pet, take time to read books and discuss the impact a pet will have on the whole family and how the responsibility will be shared. Role play can also be an effective way for younger children to understand responsibility, whereas an older child could take on the responsibility of caring for a neighbours pet.

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