When kids get a little bit older and learn how to talk, chances are that they will want you to get them a pet. They could range anything from the most popular pet in the world – cat/dog, to some insane ideas like elephants or even your neighbor’s 8-foot horse. This most often spells an impending doom to the parents because pets require a lot of courage, commitment, attention, and care to make it work. The kid may promise to take care of the pets by themselves but the parents have to shoulder some of the responsibilities as well. Hence getting a pet is not something that you should take lightly.
Getting starter pets for your child can be an especially daunting experience especially if your family has never cared for one before. Whether your children politely ask or loudly demand a pet, you cannot just give in to their demands. There are things that you have to consider before adopting a pet. Pets need a lot of attention, time, care, and resources to sustain them.
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You cannot just say no to avoid these responsibilities. You cannot also just fall for their whimsies and get any pet that c comes to mind. This is because most young children can barely remember to clean after themselves or even get their clothes right, so you have to question their ability to feed, clean and care for a small and vulnerable animal.
So how do you pick the first pet for your kid that is the right fit for your family? Not to worry, below we have outlined some of the best starter pets that your kids will enjoy caring for in their early years of life. They will also give them a good preview for responsible pet care and ownership.
Ants can make great starter pets for young children when they are safely contained within an ant farm. They offer some cheap form of entertainment and kids can spend hours marveling at their ingenuity as they burrow their homes on the ant farm. All they require is for one to provide them with some water and morsels of food to keep them going.
Unfortunately, their life span is short and they may end up dying and disappointing your kids. However, you can use their untimely demise to teach the young ones about their life cycle. Ants also live very interesting lives and you can use their lifestyle to teach your kid about some skills that they can use later in life.
Ever since the famous Finding Nemo movie debuted a decade back, kids have always considered owning a fish pet as some sort of rite of passage.
These finned multicolored aquatic animals are great starter pets for young children because they are enjoyable to watch as they wiggle around a fishbowl or an aquarium.
To ensure that the fish live longer, all you have to do is provide them space to swim in, feed them daily, as well as regularly clean their home. You can easily do this in the morning as your kids have their breakfast or else, you will find your kids favorite companion floating weirdly on top of the bowl. In case of their timely deaths, you easily replace the fish from your local store and hope that the young one does not notice the difference.
Many adults would consider owning and caring for a pet a cringe-worthy experience. However, lizards are some of the best starter pets for young children because they are fun to watch and only need minimal maintenance and supervision.
If you want to get a lizard for your kid, you first have to create a conducive habitat for them. A cage or a large aquarium with a lid makes the best home for these reptiles. If the lid is not tightly closed, lizards tend to escape and wander off in the house. You also have to consider adding a basking light for them depending on the species of the lizards you get.
You can customize the lizard’s cage to accommodate their daily natural habits. You can create a terrain with some rocks for them to lazy around on, and twigs to allow them to climb around their habitat. These animals are easy to feed too. Their diet largely revolves around grasshoppers, mealworms, and crickets, which are easy to find.
These marine animals are low maintenance and interesting creatures to own as pets. These crabs get their name from their habit of squeezing into their colorful shells only leaving their eyes and front little legs exposed. They make great starter pets because they do not require a lot of effort to start caring for them.
All you require is a small water tank filled with sand at the bottom to make their home. Ensure that the tank you choose a habitat for your hermit crab is nonmetallic and the water used is not chlorinated. You also have to make sure that you regularly mist the water to keep the crabs moist.
These crustaceans mainly require fresh water and food for sustenance. Their diet largely includes chopped fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and kales. Your child will enjoy watching these animals molt into progressively larger shells. Hermit crabs are also social beings; consider getting more than one crab for companionship.
Turtles are popular animals as starter pets for many people around the world. They are low cost and low maintenance creatures. The most common turtles that people keep as pets are the red-eared slider turtles. They can grow up to 10 inches and can comfortably live in a moderately sized aquarium or water tank.
You have to be ready to commit to caring for these turtles because they live up to twenty years of age. They are generally healthy animals and thrive when they live in the shallow waters of an unfiltered aquarium. You have to change the water in the tank or aquarium regularly to ensure that it is always fresh and always feed them in a different container.
For many turtles, you have to go the extra mile to include UV lights in their habitats. The lights help maintain a regular temperature of 80 degrees in their home. Unfortunately, due to their high propensity to harbor salmonella, your children have to practice good hygiene when handling their pets.
Keeping and caring for birds as pets can teach children responsibility. Some bird species can foster great relationships with their human counterparts.
Some birds like canaries and society finches are some of the popular bird species that most people keep as pets.
If you want your pet bird to live longer, ensure that you regularly clean their cages and provide freshwater and food. The cage should be big and spacious enough to allow the birds some flying space. You could also consider adding some toys for the birds to play with.
Small Rodents (Mice, Gerbil, or Hamster)
These three small animals are members of the best rodent species, for young kids. They this is because mice, gerbil, and hamsters generally have a good temper and do not require a lot of attention and care. You only need to cuddle them for at least 5 minutes a day to socialize with them. Their only requirements are a clean and comfortable cage, food and water, and an exercise wheel.
When dealing with a pet mouse, gerbil or hamster, you have to watch out for their sneaky behavior. They love trying to sneak out of the cage. If you are not vigilant, they easily run quickly and squeeze into small holes and openings. The gerbil can even gnaw through cages whilst trying to escape. Small rodents are social creatures as well, so consider having more than one for companionship preferably two females.
These adorable animals are great at providing kids good practice for responsible pet care. Guinea pigs are good starter pets for kids and are a good way to test whether they are ready for cat/dog ownership. They are mildly tempered, love to play, rarely bite, and squeal with excitement when they see their owners.
These animals thrive in groups, thus you should consider getting more than one guinea pig, preferably two females if you do not want them filling up the cage with their young ones. Guinea pigs procreate at an alarming rate. Two males are likely to get into fights and confrontations especially when they are not from the same litter.
Owning and caring for a pet can be a worthwhile experience for both the kids and the family at large. If you pair the right pet for your child, it can help teach your children responsibility, as well as help them grow that nurturing care for others that we all need to live a comfortable life with others. Caring for a pet can also help strengthen the family bond and provide great fulfillment for everyone in the family. Thus, do not hesitate. Start getting your kids their first pets as soon as possible.