Age-Appropriate Pets For Your Kids
Having a pet is a great way to teach your child responsibility and empathy for others. But for the interest of everyone involved, it’s important to choose a pet that is appropriate for your child’s age. Guinea pigs make a great first pet for children aged 3-5 years. They love to be held (and can fit into your child’s hands), make a fun whistling sound when they’re excited or happy, and rarely bite. At 5-10 years old, many children have an inconsistent attention span, and are better off with a small, lower maintenance pet such as a goldfish or gerbil. This is a great opportunity to teach your children responsibility- let them help to clean cages, fill water bottles and bowls, and measure out their pet’s food servings. Kids in their tween years are often very interested in animals, and can handle the responsibility of a larger pet, such as a dog, cat or rabbit. Taking on the responsibility for another living creature – daily feeding, changing cat litter, participating in dog training – is a great character builder for kids of this age. When it comes to older teenagers, while they can typically handle the responsibility for most types of pets, their busy and active lifestyles may not leave them with enough time to dedicate to nurturing pets that require a lot of attention. Aquarium fish and birds, which still require daily care but not quite as much attention as say a dog or cat, may be an ideal choice for kids in this age group.