Growing up with pets can help children learn to be kind to all creatures, and as they get older, can also teach them valuable lessons about life as they learn how to take care of them. As such, many parents buy pets for their children, or are nagged at until they give in and buy them one! But not all pets are appropriate for children, and while a lot will depend on the child’s personality and age – not to mention where you live and whether you can accommodate pets – some creatures simply make better pets than others for families.

With this in mind, let’s look at seven of the top house pets for families:

  1. Fish

While you might be forgiven for thinking a fish is a fish when it comes to buying one (or several) for your kids, the Siamese fighting fish (otherwise known as Betta fish), tends to be easier for little ones to care for than regular goldfish. They can survive without an aerator, filter, chemicals or a heater, but are best kept in an aquarium with a minimum of two gallons of water that is changed regularly and kept at a temperature of between 76 and 82°F (or 24 and 28°C).

  1. Reptiles

Although your child won’t be able to cuddle a reptile or take it for walks, tortoises and some snakes, for example, can make wonderful pets and are relatively low maintenance. Just be sure to talk your options over with an expert at a local pet store, to make sure you get the right type of reptile for your family.

  1. Birds

More demanding than caring for fish or reptiles, birds can still be a great choice of pet for a family, and depending on which type of bird you choose (your local pet store should be able to guide you), they can be a fun, cheerful addition to any household.

  1. Rodents

From hamsters and gerbils, to rats, mice and guinea pigs, small mammals such as these are relatively simple for younger children to care for, and don’t require a lot of space. Opt for same sex rodents if buying more than one, but note that hamsters are typically solitary and prefer to live alone.

  1. Cats

Cats and kittens are another great family pet, especially as they are less demanding than puppies and dogs thanks to their independent nature, although they require the same level of commitment to their care, naturally. If possible, try to adopt a homeless cat or kitten from a local shelter, just be sure that their temperament is suited to children.

  1. Dogs

Giving a child a puppy might well be making their dreams come true, but most small children aren’t aware of the significant commitment involved in raising a puppy. As such, take care to ensure that not only are your children comfortable with caring for a puppy and understand the responsibilities involved, but that the puppy you choose is of a breed and temperament suited to being around small children.

  1. Insects and arthropods

While insects might not immediately spring to mind when you think about the best pets for your children, they can be great for curious minds and budding entomophiles, and are relatively simple to care for.

From ants to crabs, insects and arthropods aren’t the right choice of pet for every family, and you’ll need to discuss your options with a pet professional before deciding to buy any for your children.

Many say that a house isn’t a home without a pet, and if you want to make your home complete, why not consider buying a pet from the list above and help your children learn a range of extremely valuable lessons and transferrable skills.


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