Thump In The Morning

Thump In The Morning

Thump In The Morning

Having a pet comes with so many social-emotional benefits for children. Positive relationships with family pets, like cats or dogs, can boost a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Taking part in routines like walking the dog or feeding their fish can give them a sense of responsibility. And playing with their furry friend can reduce stress and anxiety.

Children also learn how to “nurture” when caring for a pet, which is the act of taking care of others. Through nurturing and helping to take care of their pet, they learn to form a trusting relationship, which is an important part of social-emotional development.

Dogs and cats are at the top of the human-pet love pyramid for a reason they like people, they’ll willingly live with you, and they’re relatively easy to care for. But if you can’t or don’t want to have a dog or a cat, and have a young child who desperately wants a pet, you may be wondering what are the best pets for kids (or, the worst pets for kids).

Before anyone seriously considers pet ownership, they first need to carefully examine the many reasons why they should not get a pet.

While pets may have cute and adorable eyes which are nearly impossible to resist, the truth of the matter is that pet ownership does not suit everyone.

Animal shelters are full of poor, discarded creatures people acquired without properly considering all of the consequences. While pet ownership can be a positive and life-changing event, it can also be an utter disaster.

Anyone who believes that owning a pet is all about playing with a cute and cuddly little creature is being sorely misled. Pets are entirely dependent upon their owners and can be incredibly high maintenance.

It really does not matter whether you own a dog or a fish, they all demand time-consuming work on the part of the owner. Most pets need to be walked or exercised on a regular basis and they all need to be fed, loved and have their habitat cleaned. From cleaning , scrubbing cages, feeding and maintaining a proper grooming schedule, all pets are undeniably high maintenance beings.

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Here are some of the best and worst pets for kids.

  • Hamsters


    No. These sort of “pocket pets” are fuzzy and small, so you might think they’ll be great for your children, who are also small. But these rodents are generally terrified of humans – you can train them to appreciate human touch if they’re handled gently and frequently as babies, but they’re often sold full-grown at pet stores, and parents can’t trust that young children won’t squeeze them too hard – or accidentally let them out of their cage, never to be seen again.

    Small rodents also require a surprising amount of care. They need a special cage, food that’s not sold at the grocery store, a water dispenser, something to exercise on, and “bedding” – i.e. wood chips, that the rodents pee on, and you’ll have to change weekly or even more often. Wait, you say you didn’t want a small box of peed-on wood chips in your child’s bedroom? Finally, many of these rodents are actually nocturnal. When you want to pet them during the day, they’ll be asleep; at night, when you’re trying to sleep, they’re squeaking and running on their exer-wheel.

  • Ferret


    Ferrets aren’t rodents – they’re weasels. And though they are often clever, inquisitive, and playful, they can also be mean. They bite if you don’t handle them just right – and small children will make mistakes. They’re also escape artists and will make a beeline for any open door, and if not neutered, the males spray stinky pee all over your house.

    Ferrets also need both a cage and a litter box, hours of attention/training daily, and have one of the weirdest pet habits out there – they form attachments to particular objects in your house, and make little caches of them. So if you wonder “Where are all my socks?” or “Why do my hair ties keep disappearing?” you’ll probably come across a pile of them in a closet in some point.

  • Birds

    Girl with a bird

    Birds are a popular pet because they’re small, pretty, mostly inexpensive, and can be friendly to humans. So why are they on this list? Because small kids can’t be trusted to pet birds gently, or close the cage properly so birds won’t fly away. Young children may squeeze small birds, like baby chicks or parakeets, to death, or otherwise injure them.

    Birds also make a lot of noise. Even a small bird like a parakeet makes small chirps all day long, and large birds like parrots sing, talk, and screech whenever they’re not sleeping. Perhaps worst of all, birds can carry bacteria, viruses, and diseases that can be spread to humans – and since their cages need daily maintenance, they require a lot of care, too.

  • Rabbits

    child holding a rabbit

    They’re soft and fluffy like long-eared cats. But unless your rabbit has been carefully handled all his life, he’ll be scared of people. Even rabbits who aren’t terrified of your family members generally can’t be picked up – as prey animals, they’ll bolt if you try to hold them. Explaining to a 3-year-old that he can’t pick up the adorable bunny will never work – choose an easier-to-handle pet instead for small kids.


  • Fish

    child looking at goldfish

    Fish can’t be cuddled, true, but fish are remarkably calming and beautiful to watch, and they’re a great first taking-care-of-something experience for young kids, because they need to be fed daily, and it’s relatively easy to teach a child age 3 and up how to sprinkle the food delicately on the fish’s water. Explain to your child that too much food can hurt the fish, and keep the fish food up high so your child won’t accidentally overfeed the fish.

    You’ll also be the one cleaning the fish tank. And though fish do carry germs and diseases, like salmonella, that can be spread to people, transmission is rare. Think carefully about where you’ll put your tank – you want your child to be able to watch the fish, but not to reach into the water and bother/hurt the fish. Finally, consider that fish do tend to die more frequently than other types of pets. You’ll probably have more than one elaborate fish funeral if this is your pet of choice.

  • Guinea Pigs

    Child sleeping with Guinea pig

    They’re as fuzzy as rabbits, and nearly as tiny as other pocket pets like gerbils and hamsters. So why are they on the best list? Because they’re a lot friendlier than these other small guys. They tolerate, often even enjoy, being held and petted by their human companions. They also live longer than rats or hamsters: a healthy guinea pig typically lives 5-7 years, sometimes even longer, so you won’t be saying goodbye to your beloved pet as soon.

    They also have a few unique and completely adorable habits. They make a noise similar to purring when they are being held and petted, they make a sweet squealing noise when running and playing, and they do a curious kind of hop called “popcorning” when they’re happy and excited.

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