Having a pet join the family is a big deal – for children and parents alike. Needless to say, there are many benefits to this stepping stone – from teaching kids about responsibility to simple joy and love one feels toward the new family member. But at the end of the day, whether one likes to admit it or not, there will be times when the kids (no matter how responsible they are) will leave the feeding and cleaning up to the parents. That’s just how things go sometimes. To make life easier for everyone involved, a good solution would be to pick a low maintenance starter pet, like a fish, a hamster or a parrot before opting for a more “demanding” pet. 

The magic of a goldfish

Some may think that goldfish are not as impressive as monkeys or dogs, and owning one as a pet can get pretty boring pretty fast. However, that is not entirely true. A goldfish is the perfect starter pet because it doesn’t require much attention – it simply needs to be fed 2-3 times a day. And the best part is, there’s no cleaning involved (or at least not on a daily basis). And while it’s true that you can’t do much with a goldfish when it comes to games and activities, there is a ‘magical’ side to this pet. Magical in terms of imagination and stories. Like in many fairy tales, goldfish grant wishes; in other words, this is the type of pet that besides teaching basic responsibilities, can also boost your child’s imagination through make believe stories they get to make up about their pet. Through these stories with the pet involved, they can also further develop their vocabulary and communication skills. 

Fuzzy hamsters

Who doesn’t like a cuddly, fuzzy, cute creature that reminds you of a cartoon character? Hamsters are one of the most well-loved pets around the world. They are especially popular with teenagers as they are at that age when they’re able to understand and carry out bigger responsibilities like cleaning up after their pet. Hamsters are a bit more demanding than fish – you need to feed them once a day, but you should also clean up after them regularly. Besides food, hamsters will also need a water bowl. If you notice that your hamster drinks a lot, and start wondering why is my hamster drinking so much water? – the answer might be that their body can’t absorb water properly. In such cases, it’s best to visit the vet. 

Fun with parrots

Like hamsters, parrots require food and water, as well as a thorough clean-up every now and again. But the fun part about parrots is that they can learn to pronounce certain words – and in some cases, they might even learn a song or two. This can be extremely fun for younger kids (ages 3-5) who are also still developing their language skills. 

Once your kids have learned to properly take care of these smaller, non-demanding pets, and you feel like they are ready to graduate to owning a cat or a dog, do consider a puppy or a kitten because they too will bring so much joy and love to your family.