Guest Article: Pets and Responsibility by Crista Nezhni

Here is a guest post by Crista Nezhni about pets for kids we think you’ll really get a kick out of!

Pets for Kids: An Easy Strategy to Teach Responsibility and Respect

In a world that has become emotionally desensitized, how can you teach your child empathy?

The bond between a child and his or her pet can be the first step of this journey. And while you may be curious as to the best pets for kids to raise, the truth is that there’s no clear answer.

Ultimately, the type of companion you choose for your family doesn’t matter as much. Whether you choose a low maintenance pet, like a gecko or hamster, or a big furry friend that needs lots of love and attention, one fact remains the same. Cultivating a symbiotic relationship between pets and kids allows animals to help compose the building blocks of responsibility for your children. 

The Importance of Pets for Kids


Having pet animals in the household allow children to learn the importance of proper nutrition, cleanliness, and companionship. Additionally, they can help children to learn the importance of nurturing, love, and respect for life.

Hopefully, they’re already seeing this from their parents, religious leaders, school professionals, and others. But even if this is the case they may not know how to replicate these traits. Ultimately, children need to feel connected with others.

Today’s children learn much of their socialization skills through movies, television, video games, and social media. Pet animals can teach your child how to receive and reciprocate love and friendship.

Today’s children learn to socialize through movies, television, and video games. Having a pet can teach your child how to receive and reciprocate love and friendship instead. Click To Tweet

By being on time to feed their new cohorts, cleaning up both toys and daily messes, and showing their pets the love it needs, pets for kids can impart valuable knowledge.

One important life lesson your child can glean from a nurturing pet relationship include how to demonstrate respect, both for others in the household as well as toward their new buddy. Additionally, having a pet in the house that your child is responsible for encourages punctuality, focus, discipline, and accountability.

Tips for Teaching Pet Responsibility to Your Child

Of course, you need to remember that a child is still learning, so you may need to help with some of these responsibilities.

Set reasonable goals regarding pet-related chores based on your child’s unique personality and passions.

Also, make sure to let your child know up front what’s at stake. The consequences for both your child and the pet need to be very clear if he or she is unable to complete necessary chores.

The Best Pets for Kids


Having a dog or cat can encourage your child to engage in daily exercise.  Regular walks are needed for most pet animals, with the exception of some low-maintenance pets like lizards and mice.

Inspire your child to learn about taking turns by engaging in a game of fetch with your family’s favorite four-legged friend. On the other hand, if your child has a smaller pet that isn’t as playful, let him or her watch other animals play, such as rabbits or guinea pigs.

Experiences like these are excellent learning opportunities for your child, especially regarding the importance of cardiovascular health, stress management, and overall well-being for the pet as well as for him or herself. Allow your child to teach your new friend tricks for treats. He or she will then begin to learn the value of doing something productive to receive a reward.

The Costs of Raising a Pet

Keep in mind that pets may be costly. Veterinarian bills do add up: routine check-ups, vaccines, or treatment for any ailments that may arise. Toys, food, cleaning supplies, and other necessities must also be allocated for in your budget. Fortunately, there is an option if you’re unable to afford a pet for your family. Try visiting your child’s school and talking to his or her teacher; occasionally schools will allow for a “class pet” and encourage kids to take care of it for weekends and over summer break.

Allowing your child to see some of the benefits of partaking in animal caretaking can do wonders for him or her. If you want to help your child develop important social and emotional skills, this is one of the best ways to do it!

Crista Nezhni is a Team Member of Kids Creative Exploration, an organization that encourages kids of all ages to express themselves creatively in a safe and positive environment. She also works with children and adults to facilitate natural health practices such as proper nutrition and regular yoga practice.

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to know as soon as new articles are posted, Become a Member of our mailing list.