Teaching Kids Pet Responsibility with a Minimal Initial Investment

We went to the pet store to get a small pet for each of our children to care for. They were insistent on having a puppy, but we needed to see how they would care for another animal first. Yes, we were thinking about the investment, but you do that as parents. Our son wanted a hamster, and our daughter wanted a Betta fish. Our son decided it would be cool to have the fish instead after he learned about them at a website that has a review of Betta care made easy. We got two fish and two bowls. They had to use their allowance to buy food and any accessories. Does that sound like we were being tough on the kids? I guess it does. However, it is all about teaching them responsibility.

Kids learn by example and by going through experiences. It is never appropriate for a child to get any sort of pet whether it is a fish tank, hamster, ant farm or pony unless there is a commitment and resources for the pet’s care. A dog can be very expensive with veterinary bills. I know that when I was a child the family dog was appreciated, but it was also very much unappreciated being left outdoors alone in a dog box. We have come a long way from that way of thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I know that working dogs such as sled dogs stay outdoors. However, that is different than yard dogs when I was growing up. They would be alone all the time except for the two minutes to feed and water them each day. Fish are not social like that, but learning to clean their tanks and feeding them appropriately teaches routine and responsibility. It is a good thing for kids to learn.

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