Introducing a pet into your child’s life is a fantastic way for them to gain some independence, even if it is as little as ensuring they spend time with their new friend. You may already have a pet in the family, or perhaps your child has spent time at a friend’s house getting to know their family pet and would like to have their own. Fish can be a great ‘starter pet’ for children old and young, with The Telegraph reporting in 2012 that 1 in 10 Britons now keep fish. Here’s a brief overview of the benefits of keeping pet fish.
While more fluffy friends such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and hamsters are interactive and lovable, if you have a small home or are living in rented accommodation it just isn’t feasible to have a larger pet, and many landlords don’t allow it. By contrast, fish tanks come in a variety of sizes to suit any home, and in recent years designers have created an affordable range of styles, so your home aquarium can become part of the decor.
One of the reasons that the Telegraph cites for the popularity of fishkeeping is the ease with which they can be cared for. Provided that you have the clean correct tank, light, food, and water type, fish are fairly self-sufficient. They have shorter lifespans and don’t require regular exercise, unlike dogs and cats, and don’t require you to keep them entertained – though it is a good idea to keep multiple fish to avoid your scaly friend from getting lonely. Not to mention that unlike bigger pets, fish are silent – a huge advantage if you have very young children or day sleepers in the family.
Learning & Development
Because of the ease of fishkeeping, they are a great ‘starter pet’ if you are considering allowing your child a pet. Even very young children can be taught responsibility and independence through fishkeeping – ensure that your child remembers to feed their aquatic amigos twice a day, or even older children can help out with cleaning the tank. Additionally, if your child has a tendency to become overexcited or suffers from behavioural problems such as ADHD, good news! Studies have consistently reported that ‘aquarium therapy’ has been found to relax over-excited children, simply by quietly watching the fish move and interact.