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October 30, 2015

Children and Pets in Romances

The ideal romance features a sexy hero and an intrepid heroine. They meet. They fall in love, and they live happily ever after. But life is messy, and these days romance writers take a leaf from reality. They include some of the things we find in our own lives. There are divorces, remarriages, blended families. There are single parents with children, with pets.

Along with the man-woman thing, couples have to juggle children and pets and the courtship phase before they decide they can take their romance further.


Some readers don’t like their romances polluted with children or pets. Some readers have enough children and pets at home and don’t want to read about them too. For some people, kids are the ultimate contraception!

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of including children or pets in your romance:

1. Kids and pets need looking after all the time, which means romantic adventures require planning in order to guarantee privacy.

2. Kids can’t be trusted not to blurt out things they shouldn’t.

3. Kids and pets can make characters shine and show their softer emotional sides.

4. Kids and pets provide fodder for cute meets and sometimes matchmaking opportunities.

5. Kids are determined, and if they don’t like you, they will let you know. Their dislike gets in the way of romance.

6. Think of the worst time for a kid to interrupt, and they’ll probably time the interruption to the second.

7. Dogs have sharp teeth, and have no problem with using them.

8. Pets are easier to foist off on friends and neighbors.

9. Kids require babysitting if you’re going to move the romantic action somewhere other than home.

10. Romantic scenes usually have to take place in the bedroom. None of this trying out every room in the house, and forget the kinky stuff!

My personal thoughts on kids, pets and romance? I love reading about pets in romances, but for children it depends on the author execution. Sometimes children work and enrich a romance and other times, they feel as if they’re in the way.

What do you think? Do you like romances featuring kids and pets? Dislike them?


  1. Maria Zannini

    I’m with you. I like pets (or any animal) intervention but kids kind of muddy the waters. I can’t think of romance if I’m thinking about kids.

    Some authors do pull it off beautifully. A light touch is required.

    • Shelley Munro

      You’re right. It needs a light touch to keep the romantic elements front and center without children and the responsibility for looking after them gets in the way of a reader’s fantasy.

  2. anna (herding cats & burning soup)

    I LOVE animals in my reads. Definite plus. Especially if the hero has a cat :D

    Children it’s all about execution for me as well. I love it when done well but so many authors can’t seem to get ages correct which drives me crazy. If they act/speak their age I’m good but so many times you’ll have a 3 year old talking like they’re 12. Drive me crazy. Whew!

    • Shelley Munro

      I enjoy books with animals too. Even alien animals work for me. I totally agree about children who don’t act their age.

  3. Mary Kirkland

    I do like pets in romances. Pets can sometimes really be quite cute and do really funny things. But it depends on what the kids are doing, how old they are and how the author writes them in. I remember reading a book where the three year old was having intelligent conversations with people and it wasn’t believable at all, at least not for a three year old.

    • Shelley Munro

      Yes, with kids it depends on the way the author writes the book. Teenagers can work or I’ve just read a book with a grandmother who treats her adult grandchildren like kids. This worked well and sort of turned the kids thing on its head.

  4. Nas

    Hi Shelley!

    I do love reading about kids and babies in romances. Some writers even add in a pet or two and mesh it beautifully so it becomes a pleasure to read.

    • Shelley Munro

      I think the Harlequin lines generally do children/babies well. I’ve read a few that I quite enjoyed.

  5. Sandra Cox

    If its worked right, I think animals or kids can add to a novel. It depends a lot on the story line doesn’t it?

    • Shelley Munro

      Yes, the story line and the author execution, I think.