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I understand that parents are eager to teach responsibility to their young kids. Either in the form of giving them regular household choirs and making sure they clean their room. Some parents even decided to give in and let their kids have a pet to teach about responsibility.

However, what you need to know is, pets are not like household work to finish daily or rooms that need cleaning once a month. They are animals that need constant care, attention, and that they are full-time work and a commitment that last years.

Here’s a list of pets that your children can have if they are younger than 12 years old:


Fish are perfect for young kids; they don’t need taming or holding. Their food costs very little and you can find some great nano aquariums online that don’t take up too much space or require a huge amount of upkeep. All your kid needs to do is to keep the aquarium clean, safe, and healthy for the fish. 

A fish is a great start to teach responsibility and make them understand what obligation is without putting too much stress both for your and your kids.

If your child decided that they are no longer interested in taking care of the fish or they can’t handle the responsibility anymore, you could always free-up the fish in a pod or lake or river.


A tortoise may not be the first pet that springs in your mind, but they are a suitable starting pet for young kids. While the downside is that a tortoise lives longer, if you and your kid decided you cannot keep this pet anymore, many zoos will be willing to take them off your hand.

Tortoise is easy to look after. They are clean, needs minimal attention, and their food doesn’t cost as much.

Here’s a list of pets that your children can have if they are older than 12 years old:

At this age, your kid is much responsible, reliable, and know what they want.

Rodent: Hamster or Rats

Both hamsters and rats are a great pet for your older kids or those entering the teenage life. Having a hamster and rat is much challenging, they need time to be tamed, their cage needs cleaning more often, and they require more attention.

Rats and hamsters also need a bigger cage than what you usually see on the TV or what people in the pet shop typically recommend. They have a lot of energy that needs to be burnt; hence, rat and hamster needs a running wheel, sandbath, chew toys, bedding, and more. 

It’s essential to know the facts about hamsters and rats before committing to having one as a pet.  Also at this age, your children are less likely to do unsafe role playing activities like “giving them a bath” and accidently causing a pre-mature drowning. Regardless, have the conversation about appropriate hygiene for your rodent.

Dog or Cat

If you believe that you teenager is ready for more responsibility and you are willing to be a co-parent to a pet that will become a big part of your family, a dog or cat is an excellent choice.

Dogs and Cats are needy pets, but they will become your kid’s best friend too and a fantastic addition to your family. However, both you and your family must understand that this pet will be everyone’s responsibility, and these animals live up to 20 years – that’s a long commitment.

What you need to remember as a parent before you get your kid a pet:

It would be best if you remembered as a parent that whatever pet you decided to get for your kid will be your responsibility too. Understand that you will need to buy them their essentials like food, cage, bed, a budget for the vet visit and more. As a parent, you must show you are responsible if you choose to let them have a pet to teach responsibility and don’t be surprised or too disappointed when you end up picking up 90% of the slack.  This is completely natural for children to forget responsibilities, so it is still ultimately the adult pet parents to ensure that proper oversight, care and attention is given to the pet- afterall they deserve it. 

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