Every holiday season, there is debate about whether pets should be given as gifts. The argument against this practice is that kids often get bored with their presents – and when it comes to an animal or pet, this could result in pets needing to be re-homed. We want to avoid this as much as possible. It’s a valid concern, but it’s certainly not the case every time a kid gets a pet for Christmas.
There are a lot of benefits to kids having a pet of their own. If this is true for your family, then there shouldn’t be any harm in gifting a pet for Christmas or any other time of the year, for that matter. But gifting a pet is not always an easy decision. Below, we’ll explore some tips on how to make pet ownership a positive learning experience for your child.
Choosing an Appropriate Pet
The right pet can bring years and years of joy, as well as opportunities to teach your kids valuable life lessons like responsibility and dependability. But it’s essential you first pick the right pet for your family. One of the best ways to ensure getting a pet for Christmas is a success is to pick the right kind of pet. Here’s a quick guide to help you pick:
Start out with a fish.
Fish are a great way to gift a pet for Christmas without risking too much.
Betta fish are the easiest to take care of, especially for small children. If all goes well, you can upgrade to a goldfish or maybe something with fur next.
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Some kids are more drawn to reptiles.
Tortoises can actually make great companions that can live for more than 50 years. Plus, reptiles are hypoallergenic, so that they could be an excellent choice for families with cat or dog allergies. Just be sure to ask your doctor about appropriate pet choices for small children before choosing a reptile.
Birds make excellent pets.
They require more care than a fish or a reptile, but they are also highly intelligent social creatures. Parakeets are relatively inexpensive and can be a great choice for children.
Rodents and small mammals are another popular favorite pet among kids.
Hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and even rats are relatively easy to care for and can thrive in smaller living spaces. But keep in mind that some rodents need a companion as well as frequent handling to promote friendliness.
Finally, who doesn’t love a furry and cuddly companion?
Cats and dogs are the most obvious choice for family pets. But it’s important to keep in mind that they require more work than other choices, and they might not be the best pet to start with. If your family travels frequently, a more independent cat might be your choice. But if you’re looking for a constant companion and have the space for the commitment, a puppy for Christmas is an option.
Just be sure to research different dog breeds for traits like aggression or activity level to find the best fit for your family.
Anytime you’re looking to grow your family with a new pet, consider adopting an animal in need from a reputable shelter. Giving and helping those in need is a big part of the holiday spirit.
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Don’t Gift a Pet in Isolation.
No matter what pet you choose for your family, it’s important to remember more than just the pet. Your new friend will need food, toys, a bed, and several other items specific to the type of pet you choose.
If you’re getting the pet for your kids this holiday season, consider also gifting them just enough supplies to get started and pair it with cash or a gift card to your local pet store. This is a great way to get kids started on the lessons of pet ownership and get them invested and excited to shop and care for their new pet.
Consider also making a game or project out of caring for your new pet. Create a guide to adopting your first pet with all the information you need to care for your pet, including emergency information and a list of responsibilities that must be done to ensure the pet is happy and healthy. Researching your new pet and creating this guide with your kids is a great way to create wonderful memories.
Getting your kids a pet for Christmas is a big decision and should not be made lightly. We want to avoid kids getting bored with their holiday gifts and re-homing animals. Hopefully, this article has helped you make your decision, and if you have decided to get a pet for Christmas, we hope it’s a positive experience that brings joy for years to come.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @ataylorian with any questions or suggestions.