By Geraldine Bicette-Joseph
Most mothers and fathers like the idea of their children being pet parents. Whether bought as company for the child or to teach responsibility, a pet helps with the development of a minor’s soft skills, helping to teach them apathy, problem solving and self-confidence. As with all major decisions, determining which pet is best suited for a child may take some time.
A range of factors must be considered, from the family’s living conditions to how responsible a parent considers their child. That having been said, it would be wise for parents to start small when introducing a pet into their child’s life. A wise choice would be to invest in a small aquarium with one or two fish.
Regardless of their small size, fish require looking after by responsible owners in the same way that any other animal would. The same skill set demonstrated by responsible pet owners will have to be practiced when caring for fish. Having to feed a fish every day, as well as cleaning the tank and maintaining all fish keeping accessories gives children a sense of duty. This duty allows them to illustrate how reliable and dependable they can be. On coming to understand that they are depended on for survival, children as pet parents rise to the challenge of caring for their fish and take pride in doing so.
If you have more than one child, fish ownership can also help to build teamwork skills. The knowledge that it is of the greatest importance for brothers or sisters to come together for the betterment of their pet marks the beginning of teamwork practices for a child. In sharing a fish, siblings must decide on a name for their fish, who will be feeding the fish on what day, whose turn it is to assist with the cleaning of the tank and so on. Today’s managers and supervisors often comment on the inability of many young recruits to work in a team. With this being a skill that is lacking, it would be wise for parents to make sure that their child is well versed in the practice from early on.
Research shows that caring for a pet reduces anxiety, loneliness and stress in children. Looking after a fish also teaches children benevolence and helps them to develop a nurturing side to their character. These factors alone make fish a great starter pet for any child.