The moment you decide your family is ready for its first pet is a big one. Not every household is made for cats and dogs, but these alternatives will still give kids the chance to experience the learning curve and fun a new pet brings.
Parakeet – The grey-cheeked parakeet is a beautiful choice of bird and their lively personalities and reputation for acrobatics make them a fun choice for kids of all ages. They can get bored easily, so you have to make time to play with them and let them enjoy plenty of cage-free time. Parakeets even enjoy the occasional splash in a basin so this is another fun activity you can enjoy as a family. They are quite loud and like to make themselves heard so keep this in mind if your children aren’t used to loud noises.
Ant Farm OK, an ant farm may not seem like much of a pet as the kids can basically let them get on with their own thing, but you can pop in leaves and wood chips and watch the ants living their lives and making the most of the goods provided to them. And you can easily get hold of a wall-mountable ant farm so the pets can be kept in the children’s bedrooms.
Chinchilla – with the softest fur there is and a personable nature, chinchillas are an interesting alternative to a rabbit or guinea pig. They like to live in a cool environment and they are both super quiet and almost smell-free, unlike many other small creatures. Remember, they can live as long as 20 years and you will need to make sure your children understand they enjoy a lot of quiet time as well as being held and stroked.
Gecko – Amphibians are the perfect solution if your household has any allergy sufferers. Of all the amphibians out there, geckos are a great choice as they’re quite easy to care for and they have a docile nature. This is particularly good for families with excitable younger kids. But they can be delicate so make sure you’re always on hand to keep the kids in check.
Zebra Finch – If you’re looking for a quieter bird to add to the family, sweet little zebra finches are a great choice. They come in a wide range of eye-catching plumage colours and the fun thing about them is they’ll quickly fall into step with the rest of the family, sleeping at night and enjoying cage-free time in the day. But they need to live in pairs, if not larger groups, as they need each other to remain content and live a full life. You also need to be gentle as they are such small birds, but with patience and perseverance, they make great pets.