Now that kids are officially home for the summer, what can they do? Spend time with a friendly companion, the family pet! In our ongoing Voices series, we have a special blog submission from author and leader, Katy McQuaid.
The school year is “officially” finished, and kids are home for the summer. One way for young children to feel safer and more grounded during times of change or upheaval is to spend time with their best friend, the family pet. Our guest blogger, leadership consultant and award-winning author of Everybody Loves Grace, Katy McQuaid, shares some fun indoor activities that children can share with their furry friends.
Fun tips to help children engage with their beloved pets
- Have a Pamper the Pooch and Kiddo Party! This is an opportunity to pamper your child and your pets. Nothing feels better than a warm bath, brushing your hair, and getting ready for bed early. Let your child plan spa time for pets, complete with bath time, blow dry, and brushing. Follow immediately with bath time for kiddos for the full effect. Cuddle in bed afterwards!
- Cook a uniquely festive dinner menu such as veggie and cheese fondue or kids-choice taco party and do the preparations and cleaning up together. Let the child choose the menu and ingredients so they feel more part of the main event. Who says your pets can’t join the fun? Include them by setting a place at the table or giving doggie treats to reward good behavior for not begging.
- Play a game of follow-the-leader through the living room. Kids, parents, and pets are encouraged to participate. Pull out the costume box, so whoever is leader dons an accessory and everyone else can follow suit. See who can most easily get the family pet to follow along.
- Work on a puzzle together. If you can, find one that features a dog or cat like the family pet. It’s a great way to collaborate and work as a team. Make sure the dog or cat is allowed to be near while you do the puzzle.
- Libraries provide endless entertainment. When they open up, take your child to pick out several new library books. Snuggle up with your family pet and a pile of new library books. The kids will love their pet being involved and studies show that reading to a pet motivates children to read for longer periods of time. Whether reading alone or with your pet, it is special.
It looks like we are in for a uniquely challenging summer because many of the usual outdoor activities won’t be available. Activities with the family pet can help when the weather is inclement, or when kids don’t want to go outside. Use these to take advantage of those times the kids prefer to stay by your side, feeling safer and happier with you and their pet, inside the home.
About the Author
Author Katy McQuaid spent more than three decades in the CIA, including 12 years living abroad. Her work in communities all over the world and the endearing, unconditional love of her four-legged muse Grace inspired her to write the “Everybody Loves Grace” series of illustrated books, which has been honored with a Nautilus Silver Award for Children’s Literature: Fiction. Parents, kids of all ages, executives, and organizational leaders hail the series as a beacon of hope and inspiration for anyone navigating change or challenging circumstances. You will be seeing more content from her on our blog later this month. Learn more at www.EverybodyLovesGrace.com.