At what age can my son be counted on to care for pets?

Looking after a pet is a big responsibility, and while young children may be able to help care for a family pet by feeding the cat or walking the dog, they are not developmentally ready to take on the sole responsibility of looking after a pet until they are older. Pets do offer the perfect opportunity for grade school aged children to understand what it means to take care of living being. But for now, stick with a family pet that a grown-up is responsible for and use the pet caring duties as opportunities to teach him responsibility and enrich his life. 

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.