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4 Great Pets to Have When You Have Kids around the House

Updated on October 30, 2015

As children grow older, parents need to start teaching them valuable life lessons to ensure that they will grow as functional and productive individuals. Some lessons can be taught by a parent to a child with ease, while others require experiences that the children should have on their own. Having a pet in the house can teach valuable lessons as children start to discover how it is to care for a living creature.

What Kids Will Learn from Pets

Children can learn some of the most important life lessons from caring for a pet. Some of the lessons they will learn are:

  • Responsibility – Children with parents adamant to get a pet will promise that they will take care of everything. While children do not realize the weight of their promises, letting them care for their pet will help them understand it soon enough. A child will be responsible for the life and the wellbeing of the pet. It’s good to let children start learning responsibility at an early age.

  • Selflessness – Sometimes a child will have to set aside some of his time in order to care for his pet. That in itself is selflessness, but a child can also learn it when being motivated by his parent to save some of his money in order to pay for the grooming and health needs of the pet. It’s an important lesson for a child since he will learn how to budget his money and how to care for another living thing.

  • Time management – The kids need to learn to follow a schedule, especially if they want their pet to live for a long time. They need to have a fixed schedule for the time the pet eats. Some minutes of their time should also be set aside for socializing with their pet. By learning time management, parents can see an improvement in their kid’s behavior in that they will come home on a fixed schedule and will be using their time wisely.

  • Reliability – Instilling in their minds that someone is relying on them in order to survive would be a good way to make a child reliable. Let them know that you will not feed their pet if they don’t come home on time. Tell them that medications need to be administered to a sick pet regularly. Soon the child will not need anyone to remind them of such things and they will be doing them on their own.

Other traits can be learned by a child depending on the kind of pet that you get. Choosing the right pet for a child is important. Make sure that you consider the child’s abilities and personality when getting one.


Fishes are good starter pets for small children. It doesn’t require direct contact and it can be left on its own as long as it has sufficient food and space. No matter how excited a child is to get a pet, parents cannot expect them to turn into responsible kids overnight. They will not know what to do while they adjust to caring for something. They might forget that they have a pet every once in a while. A fighting fish can survive without ventilation, which would make it the perfect starter pet. All the child needs to do is feed it regularly. To clean its space, parents can assist the child in transferring the fish to a temporary container. Fishes are also inexpensive and don’t require costly maintenance.


A single hamster can be fun to watch for a child. It can be put in a small cage where it can have some toys and some space to walk around. Giving it food and cleaning the cage shouldn’t be too hard on the child. However, there are important things to remember when caring for a hamster. These are:

  • Hamsters put in a single cage can fight to the death.
  • Hamsters of the opposite sex put in a single cage can reproduce quickly.
  • Their average life span is 3 years, but some species tend to live shorter.
  • They might bite.
  • Maintenance costs would depend on the kind of hamster one has.

Hamsters are easy to take care of and they also don’t require a lot of physical contact. When your child wants to hold the hamster, make sure to tell them that it can bite. Before buying a hamster, pay attention to whether it has long hair or short hair. Long-haired hamsters will require more costly maintenance.


A child can already start caring for a cat as long as the breed you choose is a friendly one. Cats make good pets because they can be cuddled by the child, but they won’t require attention every single time. Cats can clean themselves and if you designate a litter for their use, they will know where to poop. However, parents need to remember that caring for cats can be costly, since they require vaccines and grooming. Children should also keep in mind that a cat can scratch them with its sharp paws when agitated. If your child has a difficult temperament, a cat might not be the best pet for them for their own safety.

Parents who have more than one child could get more than one pet. If you’re considering a cat as one of them, make sure to get a breed that is sociable to other animals. This is especially important if you want to get a dog, since the two animals do not easily mix.


Most children want to get a dog as a pet and that is easily understandable. Dogs are cute and loving and they can be taught some tricks. There will be a lot of fun in the household when you get a dog for your kids. However, dogs are some of the hardest and most expensive to maintain, since regular grooming and visits to the veterinarian are important. They also need to be given vaccines against rabies and other sicknesses to ensure their health.

Dogs also require more attention and needs to be taught things. Getting a puppy is recommended so that parents can train them at an early age. A puppy that grows up with your child would be more loyal to him. When getting a puppy, parents need to help in housebreaking the dog. There will be times when it will behave weirdly when it’s not yet familiar with its surroundings. Feeding the dog can be handled by the child, but parents always need to be close by to supervise in case the dog behaves improperly. You can let the children take the dog for walks in order to exercise it and bond with it.

The long life span of a dog makes them ideal for children so that they will not be heartbroken by a dead pet soon after getting it. Pick a dog with good temperament. Make sure that the breed is known to mix well with children and other people. Remember, a dog can be territorial. Choose the breed that can coexist with other pets and people easily.

With a pet in the house, your child can become a well-rounded individual. However, all that depends on the kind of pet that you choose. Your child can also become a selfish and closed-off individual if his experiences with pets early in childhood are not good. It’s best to avoid pets that can cause harm when the child is still in his tender years, otherwise the child may be traumatized.

As a parent, you need to remember that your child wanting a pet will also affect you, since you have to make sure that your child is safe and that the pet will thrive even without the child.

Do you like to keep pets in the house for your kids?

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  • kgmonline profile image

    Geri MIleff 2 years ago from Czech Republic

    @peachpurple - Thanks for the comment, Peachy! Most defintiely, fishes and tortoises require less maintenance than other pets.

    @Jackie Lynnley - Hi Jackie! Great to know that your kids have learned to take care of their pets. I guess it may take some time before kids get used to them. :)

    @Webmommy - Hello there, Michele! I agree that getting a pet must not be an impulse decision. Careful thought and planning should go into it. Hope the perfect timing to get a dog comes soon enough for both you and your kids! :)

  • Webmommy profile image

    Michele Ray 2 years ago from Nottingham, Maryland

    I have two children still at home and this topic comes up quite often. I would like to get them a pet and these are the options we usually wind up discussing. We'd love to have a dog, but we want to make sure the time is right as we want to provide exceptional care for a family pet, with enough finances for training and vet care.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

    I had the greatest well-mannered kids but they just would not help out with animals; in fact I got them puppies because they kept begging and I told them they had to feed and take care of them because I had rabbits, goats, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats; well you name it and I could do no more but I saw real quick those puppies would starve if I didn't feed them so I gave them away. Guess my kids were just too busy with friends at the time; turning teen! They do love animals today though and are very good with them.

  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    it is better to have fish or tortoise because less work, dogs, cats and hamster require lots of care, kids can't handle