For many parents, the idea of adding another living creature, like a pet, into the household can seem overwhelming. Keeping your house clean with young children is hard enough without worrying about how to keep your house clean when you have pets. Pets cost a lot of money, and you may not have the household budget to support them. But, if you have come to a crossroads where you’re seriously considering adding a furry (or scaly) family member, some pets are better for a household with young children than others. Keep reading to learn about the best pets for households with young children.
While birds aren’t as cute and cuddly as a new puppy, they make fantastic pets for children ten and younger. Parakeets, canaries, and finches are popular birds for families with kids. Parakeets are low-maintenance birds, making them ideal, while canaries and finches don’t need to be handled very often. As birds get used to your children and the rest of your household, many bird owners let them out often and enjoy “playing” with them. Bird cages are also small and easy to teach young children how to help clean and maintain.
With seventy percent of American households being pet owners, dogs are the frontrunner as the most common household pets. Dogs are adorable from birth, and most breeds are incredibly tolerant of young hands and rough play. While your young child won’t be able to take the dog on walks alone, they can help fill dog bowls with fresh food and water. Dogs are excellent companions for young children as well as playmates. Dogs are a perfect fit for the role if your child could benefit from a service dog or emotional support animal.
You may think you would never own a pet rat, but families that do, swear by them! Rats are very affectionate and social creatures, making them a great candidate for families with limited home space. Cleaning their cages and refilling water bottles and food dishes is a great chore for young children to take on. Rats are more than happy to sit on a child’s lap and take a nice nap; they even enjoy playing with toys. With their small size, however, you need to have a child that is old enough to understand delicate play and handling when necessary.
The cat is easily the second most popular type of pet in the US. Cats are preferred by many families because they require less than a dog typically does. Owning a cat does take some planning, like investing in cat friendly furniture, scratching posts, and designating a litter box area. Just as your young child can feed and water a dog, they can help in this area with a cat. You can also teach your child responsibility by helping to clean the litter box. Cats can be hard pets for babies and toddlers as there is always a learning curve to not playing or petting so rough it elicits a cat scratch!
Rabbits can be an excellent addition to a household with young children, but they require a lot of care which your children should be involved in. Rabbits are one of the most affectionate pets, second to dogs. Another bonus to rabbits is they can live a very long time, so if a bond is formed, it will be longer lasting than a bond with another small pet like a Guinea Pig. Though rabbits live in cages, they are very social and require a lot of time outside their cage to play and socialize with your child.
There has to be a pet on the list without hair or feathers; enter the crested gecko. Some families prefer a reptile in the house, and a crested gecko is a great intro to reptiles for young kids. Little kids love these adorable lizards as they’re happy to sit in a child’s hand. Like other small pet options, the crested gecko requires gentle play, so knowing your child’s demeanor is essential.
Bringing a pet into the fold can seem daunting, but it’s a great way to teach your young children responsibilities, compassion, and care for other living creatures. If you’re considering adopting a new companion, let the pets mentioned above be an inspiration for one that will fit your family’s lifestyle.