What can children learn from looking after a pet?
I firmly believe children can learn a great deal from looking after a pet or pets, even if those pets are very small such as a goldfish, or are novelty pets like Sea Monkeys. The main thing is that the pet is appropriate to the age of the child, and that once they have proven they are capable of taking care of their smaller pets successfully, they can graduate on to larger and more exciting pets.
I grew up in a household with pets that included goldfish, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea-pigs etc. Having these creatures in my life taught me so many beneficial lessons, and I am now certain that teaching your children to care for animals (which are dependent on them), results in those children turning into far nicer and more responsible adults than those who were never allowed to keep pets when they were growing up.
Allowing your children to have pets does not have to be expensive. I was surprised to get a comment on my How to Care for and Choose your Guinea-Pig (Cavy) hub from a girl asking if she would be okay to only keep one guinea-pig as opposed to two together. Apparently her Mother would only allow her one because she thought two would be too expensive. Bearing in mind a guinea-pig only costs pennies to feed anyway, and the cage would only need to be marginally larger for two than one, I could not understand her Mother's logic at all. Needless to say I commented back explaining in great detail why two would be better than one and would not make a huge amount of difference to the costs at all.
Some of the smallest pets like goldfish will cost next to nothing to keep, and if you are lucky you might even pick up a second hand fish tank free from a friend or a recycling depot. Setting up the Sea Monkeys I mentioned earlier as pets costs a few pounds, and that includes the tank and food etc. Neither of these tiny pets are going to cost you anything in vets bills and they certainly won't eat much. What they will do is capture your child's imagination and set them on the path to becoming more responsible adults.
As the children get older and they have illustrated the responsibility required to own a pet, you might let them progress on to small mammals like, hamsters, guinea-pigs and rabbits. These can be followed by cats, dogs and larger pets which your child can have part responsibility for e.g. feeding, grooming, walking etc. What your children won't consciously be aware of is that by having and caring for these pets they are also developing other great personality traits such as compassion, an ability to love and a nurturing instinct.
What can children learn from looking after a pet?
So to summarise here are the things I believe children learn from looking after a pet or pets on a regular basis.
- Ability to love
- A desire to nurture
What small pets are ideal for children?
Depending on their age you will find any of the following make great potential pets for your children.
- Sea Monkeys
- Hermit Crabs
- Bugs (bug kits can be purchased)
- Guinea-Pigs (Cavies)
What larger pets are ideal for children?
As the children get a little older you might allow them to progress on to larger more interesting pets which you can supervise their care of. Some of my favourites are:
I hope that after reading this you now have the answer as to what children can learn from looking after pets, and if you are trying to decide whether or not to allow your own child to have a pet, you can now see why it would be a good idea and which pets might be suitable.
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Some of Mistyhorizon2003's other hubs on pets.
- Sea-Monkeys the Easiest Pets of all
Sea-Monkeys are probably the easiest pets you can ever own, and they were probably the first pet I ever had. This article tells you more about Sea Monkeys and where to buy them....
- How to Care for and Choose your Guinea-Pig (Cavy)
Guinea-Pigs (Cavies), make perfect pets for both children and adults alike. They are sociable little creatures that enjoy being handled and seldom ever bite. Their enthusiasm for knowing it is feeding time or time for them to have a cuddle is usually
- How to Keep a Pet Ferret
So you think you would like to have a ferret as a pet but want to know exactly what is involved and how to care for it properly. This is a very important consideration as your ferret can live to be up to 9 years old. This article will cover exactly w
- How to Care for your Cat or Kitten
It is always exciting when you first make the decision to get your own kitten or cat, but before you commit to your new pet and bring him or her home there are serious considerations you need to make. The first important decision is can you afford th
- Why Monkeys Do Not Make Good Pets
If you are thinking of buying a monkey as a pet then you need to read this and realise why this would be the worst choice of pet you could ever make. This is not only very unfair on the primate in question, but it will not be the perfect pet you thin
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