This would be a question a parent would ask oneself….. when is the right timing? What pet? Is my child responsible enough?
In my point of view, children as young as 4 can start handling gliders but with supervision. I do like to visit pet fairs and bring along my gliders. It’s great to get the attention from curious visitors, and it is good when I see children coming up to me with questions. I let children have a go at handling my gliders if they behave well and will not squish or squeeze the life out of them.
Letting a child have a pet is a great responsibility. I was given my first pet rabbit when I was 3 years old…. but then I was too young that all I did was play with them while my parents did the cleaning and caring. I took full responsibility of a shih tzu when I was 9 years old, my first pet dog where I have to clean, care and train. It was hard for me at first but later on it help with my confidense, my organization and also it taught me responsibility.
Is it a good idea for a kid to have a pet? Yes! It would be, provided that your child is mature enough to do the dirty work such as cleaning and such, and understands the care and conditions for the pet. One thing I notice when children have pets is that they would spend less time loitering or lazing away. It gives them something to do during their free time.
Now here are a few things one must know when giving a pet to a child:
- Best ages would be a child above the age of 10 years old. This is where a child would have full responsibility of a pet so he must be mature enough to understand about pet care. If you are thinking of getting a glider for a younger child, then remember, it is your responsibility to educate your child and to care for the glider.
- Allergies….. be aware that gliders have fur, so if your child is sensitive to fur, better avoid keeping pets. Gliders have claws so children should wear long sleeve clothing to protect their delicate skin when handling a glider.
- Claws, gliders have sharp claws so scratches that are itchy and red will always come about if a glider did not get it’s claws or nails trimmed nicely. Adults should supervise their kids.
- A child should show interest. He or she must not want a glider on impulse. Test your kid’s knowledge on sugar gliders. If there is interest, your child would not stop talking about what are sugar gliders and how to care for them.
Teenagers are generally easier when it comes to pets. They know what they like and dislike and they are at an age where they are able to care for their own pets responsibly. Of course, only let you kid have pets if they are really into it and will take good care of them.
It will be a big step so when you think you want to get a pet for your kid, discuss with them about it. Never let it be a surprise. Also remember, get the whole family involved too.
Thank you for your comment. Yes, we have to be careful, all animals actually carry bacteria that is not healthy for young children. The best way to handle this is by praticing good hygiene. Children, particularly the youngsters can easily get salmonella from pets. So make sure children wash their hands after handling or touching a glider.