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Is Your Kid Ready for a Pet?

Is your child ready for a pet? Pets can be very beneficial to children, providing a shoulder to cry on after difficult days and teaching responsibility and love. Yet not all children are really ready for a pet, so how can you tell? If your child has started making the request for a fuzzy or scaled companion, here’s how you can approach the situation.

1. Have a Talk

When my own daughter wanted to buy a guinea pig, we sat down and talked about how that would work with our family’s dog. Together, we realized that this wasn’t the right time for another furry pet, and settled on a gecko instead. Sometimes, when you sit down and talk to your child, you can get a clear understanding for whether or not they are truly ready for a pet, and if so, which pet fits your family best.

2.Consider Your Child’s Abilities recommends considering your child’s developmental skills and abilities before settling on a first pet. A toddler and pets will be cute, but with a small child you will handle the responsibilities of pet care, and may even find the pet and child struggle to interact safely together.

3. Choose the Right First Pet

Are you home enough to give an attention-loving pet, like a new puppy, the right attention? Is your child old enough to handle the care tasks, or are you willing to shoulder them yourself? Weigh the pros and cons of each pet compared to your lifestyle and your child’s temperament. Texas A&M University recommends a low maintenance pet for a first pet, such as a fish or hamster. Remember, the right “first pet” is going to be different for each family.

Bringing a pet into your child’s life is a great teaching opportunity in many ways. By carefully considering whether now is the right time, you can make this experience a positive one as you bring a new family member home.


Nicole Jones is a freelance writer who frequently writes about pets, travel, and real estate topics.


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