Are you struggling to keep up with the demands of raising children and dogs? You’re not alone! Here’s some advice to help you juggle all of those adorable responsibilities.
Taking care of kids is challenging enough without throwing a dog (or two) into the mix. As a parent, it’s your job to consider the needs of all your babies – two- and four-legged, and that means finding a way to balance a LOT of responsibilities. Here are some tips to help you succeed!
1. Establish a routine
Routines are beneficial for everyone involved. Try to establish regular times for feeding, walking, relieving, and even exercising your dog, and help your kids understand why it’s important to stick to this schedule! Eventually, they’ll help remind you when it’s time for “Fido to be fed”, and Fido’s behavior and well-being will improve as a result.
2. Hire a reliable dog walker
Sometimes, your son’s soccer tournament will take precedence over your dog’s daily walk. When that happens, it’s good to have a trusted dog walker on standby! This will help your pup release pent-up energy and prevent him from overwhelming you as soon as you set one foot in the door.
3. Create spaces where they can co-exist
One way to make time for all your kids – fur babies included – is to create spaces where you can all be together. Buying a toy box for your pup and keeping it in the playroom, for instance, will allow you all the play at the same time. The backyard should be both kid- and dog-proofed to allow for safe, enjoyable outdoor activities.
4. Provide enrichment activities
Speaking of activities, be sure to add some mind stimulating play to your family routine. Daily walks are a good way to keep dogs and kids physically satisfied, but they also need to engage in activities that tire them out mentally. While your dog plays with a food puzzle, help your kids work on a jigsaw puzzle! You can also let your kids read your dog a book while he chews on a peanut butter stuffed KONG toy. They’ll both love the company, and it’ll give you a chance to relax.
5. Invest in an interactive pet camera
At your daughter’s karate lesson? Stay connected with your dog while you’re gone with an interactive camera. You can find cameras that allow you to play games with your pup from afar – with a laser dot, for instance – or even dispense a dog treat or two!
6. Plan play dates with other parents
One of the best ways to socialize kids and dogs is to plan regular weekly play dates with other moms and dad. Make sure everyone gets along, and then let them play while you supervise. They’re bound to sleep well after an afternoon of mingling.
7. Ditch the gym
It’s good to set aside “me time”, but ditching the gym in lieu of spending time outdoors with your family isn’t a bad idea every now and then. Go for a hike or extended walk in a new neighborhood and explore together. You’ll all feel healthier, happier and more connected afterward!
8. Schedule snuggle time
All grownups need to decompress after a long day. And, believe it or not, so do dogs and kids! Set aside 20-30 minutes of quiet time each night to snuggle up with your family and “just be” together.
Remember – nobody’s perfect. You’re bound to miss an appointment, forget to pick up the dry-cleaning, or lose your keys… and it’s okay! Just do your best to incorporate some of these tips into your life, and enjoy parenthood!