You knew this day would come. You both looked forward to it and dreaded it all at the same time. Your beloved child has told you that they want a pet. And you have absolutely no reason to tell them no! After all, pets for children teach them how to care for something other than themselves. They also teach them responsibility. Perhaps your kid has even been earning the job in their behavior and at school lately? Here are a few critters to consider for your child’s first pet:
These little guys are not only cute but they are super affordable! Once you have a tank, the correct substrate padding for their environment, a nice bath area, fresh shells for them to switch into as they grow, and a place for them to hide out and/or climb they are basically set! They eat basic things like most vegetables and some fruits. You can also buy premade hermit crab food at the pet supply store.
It is recommended that you get at least two since they tend to be social creatures out in the wild. They are really fun to watch. They also tend to not to mind being held from time to time. Hermit crabs have even been known to come out of their shells to say hi once they feel they can trust their new caregiver. Their water needs to be changed daily and of course, they need to be fed every day too. They have a few other daily needs to keep them alive, but overall they make a great first pet for kids.
Fish tend to be a staple first-time pet for many kids. While our minds tend to run to goldfish, you might want to consider getting your child a betta fish instead. Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are not only beautiful but they are relatively simple to care for. They have to remain solitary in their environment since they tend to fight with other fish, but you only have to worry about keeping one alive. They also come in a variety of colors including red, pink, orange, green, blue, black, cream and even an opaque white so your child can have fun picking out which color they’d like to raise. If taken care of properly, betta fish can live up to 5 years in captivity. Plus, watching fish can be not only fun but also good for your mental health.
Guinea pigs are amongst one of the easier pets to care for in the opinions of many. They are not only adorable but are known to be very social towards their owners. Though it is highly recommended that you get two so they have a friend to interact with when you are not around. All they require is a large care with special paper bedding, pellet food, water, hay, some fresh veggies, and a vitamin C supplement daily. Fun fact: Guinea pigs sometimes even purr like cats when they are calm and feeling comfy.
Cats are arguably one of the easiest pets for children. They are cute, cuddly, and beautiful but also super easy to feed, love and upkeep. Really, the hardest part about having a cat is changing the litter in their litter box once a week! You can keep dry food and a bowl of water in a special spot that they can easily find and they will take care of the rest! Although cats are known for having personalities of their own, most cats are friendly towards their owners when treated properly. Cats like their space, so make sure you teach your kid to give them their independence and most cats will come around and turn into wonderful pets that can live a very long time.
All of these are just suggestions. You will need to really discuss the amount of responsibility your child will be willing to put into the care of the pet you decide upon. Some will require more work than others. A few other animals that make great first time pets are adult dogs from the local shelter, lizards, and rabbits. No matter what pet you welcome into your family, don’t forget to teach your child the safety precautions that they will need to abide by in order to keep both your child and your new pet happy and healthy.