The TSL Kids Crew Blog
Don't get offended. When we talk about children, often times pet owners think of their favorite furries at home. But in the case of childcare, we're talking about the kids.
Though many beaches, pools, rental units, and many other public and private locales have restrictions on bringing pets, childcare centers, summer camps, and after school programs don't widely announce pet policies, yet there are many things to consider before walking your Great Dane into a childcare program when picking up your children.
I've seen it happen all too often when parents enter program to pick up their kids with laps dogs bundled in their arms or bull dogs strutting in on a leash. I have even seen children in programs at public parks be distracted by the locals as they decide to walk their dog over to all the kids because...what kid would want to miss out on hugging, petting, or just staring at a strange four four-legged friend being toted around by a stranger?
In general, kids love animals. Television and books for children often feature amazing dogs, monkeys, fish, bears, and even elephants (Humpy Rumpy, one of Roald Dahl's creations being my favorite). Many kids have animals at home and if they don't, they beg their parents for one.
As it turns out, many adults like them too (although there are less stories written about animals for adults). Stephen King's Cujo does come to mind. Unfortunately, sometimes adults who love their pets think this justifies introducing them to large groups of children in a childcare setting.
The problem with this is that childcares have to follow state-imposed regulations, and those regulations are put in place for the safety of children while in program and are very specific. So, if that new cuddly dog nips a child in a program, or gets spooked and bites a child, the state, like the parents of the child who got bit, will not look fondly on the incident and the doorway to many problems is kicked open wide.
The other consideration is that children come to programs with a wide array of health care needs (i.e., anxiety, allergies to pet dander) and many other care needs that are collected by the childcare company and documented so that the program is aware and can be proactive in making sure those healthcare needs are met. Outside of their own child, most parents don't know anything about the healthcare needs of other children in program, which could be potentially impacted by the introduction of an unannounced furry into program.
Then there is the distraction element. When a program leader has twenty children actively engaged in a tailored program, it can be a distraction to have that all blow up when a waggling animal struts in.
So, keep all these things in mind parents and park goers before bringing your animal over to meet a group of children unannounced. Parents, keep them in the car at pickup and park goers keep a distance. It may seem like a great idea to show off your pet of to the world, but as wonderful as it is to see the smiling faces of children when they regard your special furry friend, it can be a detriment to people put in charge of running the program overseeing those kids.
The Ideas Written About In This Blog Are Based On The Personal Opinions And Philosophies Of The Contributor Who Has Taught Elementary School For Twelve Years And Has Run A Recreational Childcare Business Since 2009.