Many households love having pets they can come home to for extra affection and companionship. Having pets can also be very calming and therapeutic for kids with ADHD or who are on the autism spectrum. Pets also benefit kids by helping to develop social skills and emotional intelligence. And if you give your kids some responsibility for pets in your home, they can quickly learn valuable lessons in responsibility.
However, raising children on the autism spectrum or with ADHD will have its challenges and some families may find that including a high-maintenance pet in the home may be more stress than it’s worth. While many common pets, such as dogs, bring lots of joy to many families, they can also take a surprising amount of time, energy, and even money to take care of. And children with sensory processing disorders can find loud or energetic pets to be overwhelming. Luckily, there are plenty of other types of pets you can get for your kids that are easy to take care of and much more mellow.
These fun little furballs are perfect for kids since they are playful but rarely get aggressive. Guinea pigs are quick to trust humans and are easy to handle as long as you don’t hurt them. They are also relatively easy to take care of and won’t require a ton of space, although you may want to consider buying them in pairs since they are very social creatures.
A classic first pet for many kids, this little furry rodent is ideal if you want to give your kids most of the responsibility of caring for a pet. Feeding hamsters and keeping their cages clean is very easy and older kids can often be completely responsible for hamsters on their own. While hamsters often don’t respond as well as other animals to being handled, larger breeds like Syrian hamsters will warm up to people more easily.
Rabbits are also very mild-mannered and easy to handle, making them perfect for young children and kids with sensory issues. Rabbits are easy to care for and can often be litter trained, making keeping their cage and your home clean very simple.
Okay, so this option may not be what you think of when it comes to furry companions. But lizards are great for kids because they are typically low maintenance and have a cheap diet. Some species are fairly easy to handle and are mild-mannered, so they will respond well to being handled by kids. Lizards are also good for kids that have allergies since you won’t have to worry about any hair causing an allergic reaction.
Having a small pet your child can help take care of will be a great source of comfort and can help them develop useful skills for the future.