Having a pet growing up is a unique childhood experience. Helping take care of a household pet can teach a child important values such as responsibility and kindness. Also, your child gets the benefit of having a best friend as he or she grows up. The thing is, not all pets are kid-friendly; thus, it can be challenging to decide which animals make good pets for kids.

To simplify matters, we have compiled a list of five best pets for kids under 10. The list ranges from small pets for kids that require the least amount of responsibility to bigger pets that require more time and attention.

5 Good Pets for Kids to Grow Up With

1. Betta Fish

Why: The first animal on our list of good pets for kids is the betta fish, also known as the fighting betta. The reason that this fish has made it to the top of our list is that they are cheap and require minimal effort. They thrive in isolation, and their robust nature means that they don’t mind small spaces. Also, they don’t need chemicals, Aerators, or filters. This means less stress on you, the parents. Therefore, this makes the betta fish an excellent starter pet for kids to get used to feeding and caring for a pet.

You may ask, however, why the goldfish isn’t the number one choice. After all, aren’t they a classic selection of fish for a kid’s first pet? The fact is that goldfish aren’t as sturdy as the betta fish. They need much bigger tanks and all the bells and whistles that come with them—filters, aerators, and regular water changes. If your reasoning for selecting a fish for your kids is to have a low-maintenance pet, then the betta fish is your better bet.

2. Hamsters

Why: The next animal on our list of good pets for kids is the classic classroom pet, the hamster. Hamsters are lower maintenance than other small rodents. Unlike other rodents, these adorable animals prefer to live a solitary lifestyle. This means that you only must purchase one. Hamsters also don’t require large space so that a small cage will do the trick.

Hamsters can startle easily, so younger children will require supervision when handling one. But owning a hamster can teach children to be gentle when handling smaller animals. With regular contact, a hamster quickly warms up to its human companions and make a great starter pet of the mammalian variety.

3. Guinea Pigs

Why: Unlike hamsters, guinea pigs prefer companionship and do better in a same-sex pair. These gentle animals naturally seem to enjoy human contact. So once your children have learned proper handling, they will love getting snuggles from their tiny new friend.

Since guinea pigs are larger than most rodents, they do eat a bit more food than others. They are also more active than other pets their size. So their cages do require more cleanings. If you put them in charge of feeding and cleaning, this can be a great way to teach kids a sense of responsibility and discipline.

4. Cats

Why: Cats are notoriously independent animals. They are low-maintenance. So they don’t require lots of walks or outdoor time. But they do need plenty of check-ups with the vet and immunizations to keep them healthy. The upside of needing more care than the previous pets on this list is that you can make your older children responsible for feeding and grooming. This will teach them discipline and gentleness with those who are smaller than them.

You may want to invest in a scratching post to discourage your cat from scratching up the furniture. But for cat-lovers, these extra precautions are more than worth it in the form of playtime and kitty snuggles. Choose a kitten with a gentle disposition and your child will surely have a friend for years to come.

sleeping dog and boy

5. Dogs

Why: The dog is famous for being man’s best friend, and that reputation also earns it the distinction of being one of the best pets for kids. Dogs are loyal and protective of their families and will certainly look out for the smallest members of your family. The reason that dogs are number five on our list of good pets for kids is that while their personalities are friendly and they make excellent companions, they do require more care and responsibility than other animals. The adults in the family will probably end up doing more than their fair share of dog walking and cleaning up accidents.

Still, as most dog lovers will tell you, the extra care is worth it from the love and companionship that you get back from your canine family member. Additionally, the experience of having and caring for a dog will teach your children to take on more responsibility. Not all dogs are created equally, however. Some dogs like Dalmatians and Chihuahuas are popular on TV and in movies. But they don’t necessarily have the temperament to be around small kids. Opt instead for a more patient, even-tempered breed. Choose instead from Golden Retrievers or Labradors, and your kid is sure to have a childhood best friend.

Are Birds Great Pets for Kids?

Not all birds make great pets for kids. If your little ones yearn for a pet bird, it would be ideal to educate yourself about child-friendly birds.

For young children that are not fully aware of ways to properly take care of a bird, a finch or canary would be a great start. Finches usually come in pairs when you purchase them. The canaries, on the other hand, can live by themselves. Finches and canaries are birds that are best pets for children because they do not long for human contact and can survive even when they are kept in big cages.

Cockatiels are also birds that are not inclined to bond with their owners all the time. Nonetheless, they are sweet and smart birds. Their whistle and cuteness are definitely hard to resist.

For older kids, Parakeets can make great pet birds. They are smart and has an expansive library of vocabulary. A parakeet in a cage can certainly fit well in your kiddo’s room. The Pionus is a medium-large-sized parrot that can also be ideal pet birds for older kids. This breed can live up to four decades. A Pionus rarely bites, fairly quiet, and always sweet.

What are Low-Maintenance Pets That Are Great for Kids?

Pet ownership comes with a responsibility. As young children, most of them still have lots to learn about how to handle pets well. With this in mind, give your children low-maintenance pets for a start.

Low-maintenance pets are the best small pets for kids. Examples of these pets are rats, hermit crabs, lizards, rabbits, reptiles such as turtles, mice, and chickens. These pets are available in most pet stores, and many of them are easily accessible to you.

For children who love reptiles such as turtles and lizards, these are ideal pets for them because they do not require big spaces, too much lighting, or even extreme temperatures. They are demanding and can be properly handled with great ease. Lizards are also best for kids with fur allergies.

Low-maintenance pets such as rabbits, rats, hamsters, and even a domestic dog can be excellent choices of pets for Asperger’s kids and autistic children. Children with Asperger’s syndrome usually feel isolated due to their communication and social impairments. Pets can provide long-lasting companionship to these children.  

What Exotic Pets are Best for Kids?

If you are considering giving your young children exotic pets, closely guarded supervision is essential, particularly during interaction time. Examples of exotic pets are rats, guinea pigs, hamster, and leopard geckos.

Rats are among the many overlooked creatures that are intelligent and highly social. They are easy to handle and require gentle touches. Rats are nocturnal but have the ability to adapt to the schedule of their owners. Hamsters are also best for kids because of their social abilities. However, when they are sleepy, they should not be disturbed.

Some snakes can be great pets for children as well. One best example is the black and white corn snake. This type of snake is not aggressive or venomous. Mice are great entertainers. For those with autism, just watching the mice move can be entertaining. Leopard geckos are among the easy reptiles to handle. However, setting up a tank can be quite costly.

Beginning the Friendship

We hope that this list of good pets for kids has helped you in your search for the best pet for your family. Any of these small pets for kids would make a great addition to any family. But ultimately you know which one would suit your child’s needs the best.

Now we would like to hear from you. Have you owned one of these pets before and had some insights that you would like to share? Do you have any experience with kid-friendly pets for kids that didn’t make it onto our list? If so, please let us know in the comments below!

The images are from depositphotos.com.