Doing Reiki on children, especially very young children is very different from doing Reiki on an adult or even a teenager. The obvious being there is no way an infant, toddler or even a 5-10 year old is going to lie down on a massage table for an hour or longer and be still while the practitioner gives them a Reiki treatment. Interestingly enough, this applies to animals as well in a way. You can’t expect a dog or cat, especially one who doesn’t even know you, to hold still while you go through a set of hand positions on it for even a few minutes.
I see newborns as coming in with a clean slate (no emotional baggage yet), so why would they need a full hour treatment in the first place. Granted there may be birth trauma, or some kind of congenital issue that immediately needs to be addressed at birth (preemie, heart issue, spina bifida, etc.),but a healthy, normal baby as the result of a healthy, normal delivery is not going to require very much Reiki unless it catches a cold, flu, has had a shot or incurred an injury of some sort.
So in most cases we’re talking about “spot” treating around infants and small children (hands on face for toothache, hands on tummy for a tummy ache, hands on knee for an “owie”, etc.), or maybe just intending that Reiki is flowing to them as you breast feed them (through your hands). I know of one mother who would hold her hand up to the side of the breast she was nursing out of while the baby was nursing, intending that Reiki flow out of it into the breast, into the milk, and into the baby.
I instruct mothers to send distant Reiki to their children while lying in bed, who are having trouble settling down for the night, or who wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.
As for pets, mostly I will be referring to cats and dogs. A bird can be given Reiki by placing your hands on either side of it’s cage or just sending it Reiki, same with a gerbil, hamster, fish, turtle, etc. Cats reactions to Reiki however seem to differ from those of dogs. There is a story I tell my students about cats – if you have more than one cat at home, when you get back home after a Reiki attunement you might have two different reactions – one cat might rub up against you and want Reiki all the time, and the other might get it’s back up and run away from you as if you've grown two horns and a tail. The later does eventually come around when it’s gotten used to the fact that whatever is different about you now is OK, and sees the other cat getting all that marvelous Reiki, especially when it cuddles up with you while you’re doing your daily self-treating.
Dogs are so into pleasing us that they could care less that you’ve just been attuned to Reiki and just like some cats, will be all over you when you are doing your daily Reiki self-treating, or may even come up to you and ask for Reiki, giving you a paw, presenting a hip, etc. THEY JUST LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE REIKI! They’re like “Reiki Sponges”.
There are marvelous books out on Reiki with animals by Kathleen Prasad and Elizabeth Fulton if you are interested in taking that route with your Reiki hands. They explain in great detail, how to approach the animals and have diagrams of hand positions for multiple types of animals. I like the fact that they come from a very respectful position with the animals, meaning that we have forced so many animals into domestication, controlling what they are allowed to eat, where they are allowed to evacuate, sleep and so on. So that it might be perceived by an animal that we are just forcing one more thing on them when we try to give them Reiki. I just love how they handle this!