As a parent, there are many things that you want your kids to learn at a young age. It’s a smart choice that we own and choose the best small pets for kids to bring up their responsibilities and patience.
On the other hand, this is also a cool method to teach your kids how to care and be caring for small animals. This is essential for kids to understand how to value other living things.
Why Every Child Should Have a Pet?
1. Be a Responsible Pet Owner
Having a pet of his own is like having a job. Pets need to be fed, be given fresh water, be groomed, just to name a few. These pet duties require time and dedication from your kid. For us adults, these may seem trivial but not for growing children.
These pet duties can teach your kid how to be responsible for a pet who is completely dependent on him. And, later in life, this sense of responsibility will spill over into adulthood.
2. Boost Self-Confidence
If your child feels successful in caring for his own pet, it has a positive effect on his confidence. Caring for a pet is an excellent building block for your child’s self-worth. Little accomplishments will make your child feel good and proud which are important factors for your child.
3. Keep Those Hands Away From the Gadget
Kids these days are inseparable with their gadgets that they forget to go out and play. Do you think your kid lacks physical activities? If yes, then begin looking for the best first pets for kids.
Some of the small pets need extra outdoor exercise. This is a good reason for your kid to get physical by playing with the pets. Let your child chase, play ball or tug-of-war with the small pets.
Not only is this a good for your kid’s pet but it is also good for the health of your child.
4. Teach Your Kid the Reality of Life
A lot of kids have a sense of entitlement. They think everything will be served to them on a silver platter. As a result, this is one of the reasons why every child should have a pet at home-to learn the realities of life.
How? By teaching your kid to clean up the mess of his small pets. If it’s a dog, clean and disposes of the poop properly. If it is a bird, clean the bird’s cage regularly. Small duties will teach your kid that life is not all about glamour.
By having small pets at home, you make your kid realize that pets are kids, too. Small pets need love, attention, and proper care. If their needs are not met, these small pets can get vulnerable to sickness. Thus, pets teach kids how to be “good pet parents”.
If your kid is a newbie pet owner, there are factors that you need to know before buying the very first pet.
How to Choose the Best First Pets for Kids?
1. Choose a Low-Maintenance Small Pet
If it is a small dog, be sure that the dog is not the high-spirited one that requires strenuous activities. Start slowly by giving your kid an easy to care for like a small dog Maltese or a Pug dog breed.
It is a cat, you may want to consider Burmese, Birman or Manx. These cats are easy to care for your young children. Their coats do not grow long so issues like matting will not be a concern of your kid.
Since it is going to be your kid’s first pet, we recommend that you choose a pet that does not cost too much, such as fish and birds. The food and other needs of these animals are cheaper.
2. Shedding Issues
Is your child suffering from asthma? If yes, then look for small dogs and cats that do not shed too much. Other small pets to consider if your kid has asthma are rabbits and a parakeet bird.
3. Separation Anxiety
Pets are kids too, and some of them whine and act out when left alone. And, when they are lonely, they tend to get destructive by chewing socks and other kinds of stuff. So, if you have some luxurious things around the house, make sure that you choose a small pet that does not have a separation anxiety issue.
4. Pet’s Personality
Another thing that you may want to think about is if your child prefers a small pet that wants to be carried and hugged.
Some small pets enjoy being carried around the house while some small pets for kids prefer to be petted while inside their cage. Then, there are also those small pets that prefer not to be picked up and hugged by kids.
It may be disappointing for your kid if he is looking forward to coming home to a pet that he wants to cuddle only to find out that the small pet would rather be left alone. If this happens, your child may feel rejected by his very own pet.
Choosing the best first pets for kids is not as easy as it seems to be. As a parent, be sure that it is crystal clear to you what your kid wants and not what you want from a pet.
What Are The Types of Best First Pets for Kids?
To make it easier for you to decipher the kind of first pet to buy for your kid, I have classified the choices into three:
1. The Best Small Pets for Kids That Love Cuddling:
- Dogs: These pets are social creatures. They want to be part of every activity of your child. And, when your kid comes home, dogs are there to greet him with wagging tails and kisses.
- Ferrets: A small pet that is kid-friendly and easy to take care of. These are cute, affectionate, and enjoy playtime with children.
- Cats: These pets may not be as sweet as the dogs but cats are pretty much very easy to take care of. They do not mind being picked up and cuddled.
2. The Best Small Pets for Kids That Allow Being Petted:
It is important that you let your kid know that not all pets are warm to the idea of being picked up and hugged. Some small pets allow kids to pet and stroke their coats but only up to that level only.
- Guinea Pig: This can be a wonderful first small pet for your kid because it is amusing to watch. Each guinea pig has a unique personality. Guinea pigs will teach your kid how to be observant of the varying behaviors and sounds that correspond to certain feelings like hunger and joy.
3. The Best Small Pets for Kids That Prefer to be Watched Rather Than Touched:
Maybe your kid wants to learn from observation before venturing into small pets with whom he can play with. In this case, you can get the best small pets for kids that prefer not to be picked-up nor stroked by kids.
These types of small pets love to stay alone with toys in their enclosures.
- Gerbils: These are not aggressive pets so your kid can be safe with these pets. Though they can be held, gerbils move rather fast so these can be a challenge for your kid to get hold of these.
And, since gerbils are fast movers, it’s enjoyable for watching them do different sorts of things with their toys while inside the enclosure.
- Hamsters: These ones are also ideal for kids as the level of care is easy. It is better to get a bigger variety like the Syrian hamster as this is not aggressive and would allow kids to handle them. But, the lifespan is short which is 3 years.
But, it can be a chance to teach your kid the idea that not all living things last forever.
- Fish: Caring for a fish teaches your kid to become aware of what the fish needs to survive. However, overfeeding the fish can make it sick. The same goes if they didn’t change the water in the aquarium on schedule.
- Birds like parrots and budgies: Your kids may love to have birds in the house. It’s fascinating by watching them and hearing them sing. Some birds like a parrot and cockatiels are smart enough. They also can teach these birds how to say a few words and do tricks. It’s interesting for kids to teach these birds how to ‘to talk’.
Above all, there are many good reasons why every child should have a pet. A child can learn many beautiful things about proper care, correct handling, and responsibilities. They cannot learn these things in school but can learn from hands-on experiences, in this case, caring for small pets.
Not only that, caring for small pets inculcate the values of kindness, empathy, acceptance, and respect for other species.