How fish can introduce your child to responsibility and caregiving

By Kylee Harris

An estimated 68% of American households own at least one pet, with some 90 million dogs and 94 million cats kept across the country. Clearly, pets are an important part of our lives and central to any household that keeps one. For children, pets represent one of their first experiences with responsibility and provide a source of companionship during the difficult process of growing up.  

Why keep a fish 

Deciding the first pet for your child can be a difficult choice. There is the expectation that most of the maintenance will fall to the parent as is so often the case.

The pet’s requirements must also be appropriate to your child’s age.

Of course, pets with a tendency to bite if misheld or that require delicate handling are not appropriate for small children. In these respects, fish are the perfect choice. The majority of a fish’s needs are centered on technical requirements like tank specifications and water temperature. Having a fish tank is also a chance to teach your children about sustainability and conservation. Roughly 90% of freshwater pet fish are farmed, which makes them an eco-friendly option when compared to their saltwater counterparts. 

Pets can play an important role in childhood development and research suggests that there are a number of emotional and social benefits to raising them.

Because they require daily care, they provide an opportunity to teach children about responsibility and care-giving at a young age.

In the case of fish, this can be as simple and low-risk as feeding the fish daily. Children with pets have been shown to have better social skills, impulse control and self esteem. Furthermore, for many children first learning to read it is easier to read aloud to a pet than it is a parent or teacher. This helps provide a comfortable environment for them to learn and develop their reading skills. 

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