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Are your kids constantly asking you to pick up a furry or feathered friend for them? It sounds like they’re ready for a pet. But, of course, you and your partner will ultimately have to decide if they’ll be able to handle this new challenge. Before the both of you agree to let your kids adopt a new companion, be sure to keep reading. Below, we list the best pets for kids at each age.
Babies and Toddlers: Fish
Fish are incredible pets for young children. For one thing, these swimming sea animals will instantly spark your child’s curiosity. Plus, unlike hamsters, lizards, and other small animals, they don’t require a ton of hands-on care. As you might suspect, parents must be the primary caretakers; even though fish seem to be easy to care for, adults must clean the tank, monitor water conditions, facilitate healthy acclimation between fish, and watch for illnesses or diseases. So if you want to bring a pet into your child’s life and they’re not yet old enough to take on responsibilities, consider a fish before any other pet.
School-Age Kids: Parakeets and Other Birds
When children enter grade school, they begin to learn about taking on responsibility. However, this doesn’t mean you should immediately bring a high-maintenance pet into your home. You’ll still want to introduce pets that mostly require adult supervision to your kids. Like fish, birds are best for children to observe—but the coolest part of owning a bird is teaching them new tricks. Birds are very intelligent, and your kids will love interacting with them!
Tweens: Guinea Pigs
As your kids start to gain more independence, they can begin to care for pets that need more attention. For example, guinea pigs are great. They’re very friendly, and you can give your kids the opportunity to care for these animals themselves. You can encourage your child to bathe their guinea pigs, provide them with food and water, and clean the cage. Additionally, guinea pigs are a perfect size; your kids can hold and play with these cute critters themselves. Guinea pigs don’t take up a ton of space, either—your kiddos can keep them in their own rooms.
Teens: Cats and Dogs
Cats and dogs require more commitment than other pets, which is why it’ll be easiest for older kids to care for them. For one thing, it requires patience to house-train these animals—older children will be more eager to coach their cat or dog through this process. At the same time, both cats and dogs need exercise, and your kids will likely jump at the opportunity to run around with their four-legged bestie.
Now that you’re more familiar with the best pets for kids at each age, it’s time to do some research. Look online for breeders or shelters in your area—then, take your kiddos to find them a buddy. We hope your family brings home the perfect pet for your children!