5 Great First Pets for Kids | Cute Beltz

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If you’re a parent, and your child is old enough to talk, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “Can we get a pet?Please, please, pretty please?” In general, this request inspires a sense of impending doom. No matter what kind of pet you have, it’s going to be a lot of work. And, no matter how much your kid tries to convince you that they’ll do everything, you’ll have to shoulder a certain amount of responsibility. Pet ownership means adoption fees, vet bills, food, toys, grooming, cleanup — and who knows what else. It’s not something to take lightly.

But the right child paired with the right pet can actually mean great things for everybody. Taking on the care of an animal can teach your child how to be responsible and aware of the needs of others. A pet is a live-in nature lesson. The bond with a pet can provide immeasurable fulfillment for everyone in your family, not just your child.

But how to pick the right pet? Check out our picks for best 5 best first pets for your kids.

An Older Dog or Cat

Though you might be tempted by the overwhelming cuteness of puppies and kittens, young animals usually don’t make great starter pets. They require a lot of patience and training in order to grow into well-adjusted pets, and kids generally don’t have the experience to pull that off. Instead, adopt an adult dog or cat from an animal shelter. On the whole, older animals will be much more tolerant with kids, and pets that are already trained will make it easier for your child to learn what it takes to care for them. But even the gentlest of dogs and cats require a lot of work, so be sure to help your child understand what the animal needs.

Betta Fish

A fish is another classic first pet, provided you pick the right one. Goldfish are the archetypal choice, but they’re notoriously fragile and require a fairly elaborate tank-and-filter setup.

Betta fish, however, are happiest in smaller bowls, no filter necessary. Bettas are beautiful fish, often jewel-toned, with long flowing fins. The bowl will need regular cleaning and water changes; consider adding an aquatic snail to your bowl, which will help keep the algae at bay. (They’re fun to watch, too.) Your child can have fun decorating the bowl with gravel, plants and other accessories. A word to the wise: This is one pet that’s best purchased singly, because two bettas in the same bowl will fight to the death. But a healthy, well-tended betta can live for two or three years.

Guinea Pig

Often overlooked in favor of their smaller cousins, these gentle rodents actually make great pets for kids. They rarely bite, they love to play hide and seek, and they’ll squeak with excitement when their humans put in an appearance.

Since they prefer to live in groups, consider adopting two female guinea pigs. (Two males will be prone to fighting, unless they come from the same litter, and a male/female pair will result in lots of tiny guinea pigs.)

Guinea pigs also provide good practice for responsible pet ownership. If you’re thinking about getting a bigger pet somewhere down the road, for example, longer-haired varieties are good preview for dog or cat ownership, since they need to be groomed daily in order to prevent tangles.

Small Bird

There are a few types of small birds that can make for a good introduction to the world of pet care. Canaries, for example, don’t require a lot of one-on-one time, and a pair of society finches will happily keep one another entertained.

All birds require regular cage cleaning and fresh food and water, along with a cage roomy enough for a bit of flying and some toys for amusement. Small birds don’t like sudden movements or unexpected noises, so they’re best cared for by older, calmer children.

Small Lizard

Small lizards can make for very interesting pets. But not every kind of lizard will work well for the novice pet owner. Iguanas and Savannah monitors start out cute and small, but they grow into lizards several feet in length — and they’re also capable of inflicting nasty bites.

Instead, consider a leopard gecko or bearded dragon. These reptiles are good starter pets due to their docile nature, low-maintenance lifestyle and small size. Though delicate in their infancy, once they reach adulthood, they’re resilient and hardy creatures.

Which do you feel would make a great first pet for your kids? – Cute Beltz

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Fun Ways to Teach Kids How to Save Money | Cute Beltz Blog

Teaching kids the importance of money choices and the act of saving money are essential parts of learning and growing.  The most important thing to do at the beginning is to make saving fun. Plus, the earlier you start teaching your kids to save money, the better off they’ll be. Even toddlers can do it, but you have to teach this concept in a way they’ll understand. Then, as your children grow, you can introduce more sophisticated saving strategies.  Here are some ways you can teach your children about saving money early on!

Set a Good Example

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One of the best things you can do is let your child see that you save money too. Put money in a jar while your child is watching and tell him or her it’s your savings jar. This will show your child that saving is “normal.” Plus, since most young children want to be like their parents, seeing you do it will provide them with money lessons that further inspire them to save.  Let your child choose his or her own piggy bank. It doesn’t have to be a pig, naturally. You can find character banks from cartoon shows and movies, or you could just get an old jar and let your child decorate it. Make it a fun and special project to choose or make the jar and your child is going to have more of an attachment to it.

Play Games

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There are a number of games available to teach financial concepts to children. Monopoly and The Game of Life, for example, can teach money management skills as well as the importance of planning ahead. Rich Dad Cashflow for Kids is another good option focused on money management.  While you are playing, point out how saving money in the game relates to saving money in real life.

Clip Coupons

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Before you recycle all those annoying circulars that arrive on your doorstep Sunday mornings, why not have a coupon-clipping fiesta with your child? Even if you’re not a coupon clipper yourself, it’s worth making the effort to teach your child about savings and discounts. He can help identify coupons that might be a good match for this week’s grocery needs (even nonreaders can do this, because most coupons include pictures), help cut them out, and put them in a large envelope.

Next time you go to the grocery store, let your child be in charge of the coupons. Depending on his age, he can be the “coupon envelope holder,” the “product finder,” the “tracker of money saved,” or all three. Afterward, talk about how much money the two of you saved and how you might use that money.

Use Cash

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Showing kids purchases with a credit card won’t do much good, experts say.  They recommend not buying items on credit cards or with checks, because that’s completely abstract.  Instead, let your kids hold the money and see the money leaving their hands.

A fun way to accomplish this with young children is to deposit coins in a parking meter. Let kids put the coins in.  That way, they get to see what money is and that you get something for it. And when kids are 3 or 4, they love putting the coins in the meter.

What are some ways you teach your kids how to save money? – Cute Beltz

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