Even if you don't have a pet at home, you can help your child learn about caring for pets. You'll see ideas for toy pets below.
Talk with your child about what he or she knows about the needs of your pet—food, water, shelter, safety, and attention or love. You and your child can decide how the child can help with the family pet and why that help is important to your family and your pet.
If your home does not have a pet, your child can use imaginary play with a toy animal, acting as though the animal is real. You and your child can talk about the same needs of the pet, acting out how to care for it. You can also discuss real animals and how to treat them.
With real or pretend pets, discuss with your child the importance of being safe around pets and other animals. Tell your child not to pet an animal without asking its owner, and to never approach an animal when he or she is alone. This would be a good time to talk about the differences between pets and wild animals, too.