I'm a firm believer that kids should have pets. Caring for a pet teaches children responsibility and empathy while simultaneously providing comfort and companionship. Of course, it's not a perfect world, so parents buy or adopt dogs and cats for their children every single day only to be saddled with the full responsibility of caring for the pet alone. Before you head straight to the shelter, consider these six unconventional pets that are great for kids (and perfect starter pets if you want to work your way up to a dog or cat).
Of course, just because a pet is generally considered "good for kids" doesn't necessary mean it's right for your family. It's crucial to do your research, talk to experts, and consider logistics before bringing a live animal home with you. After all, adding a furry (or scaly) member to your family only to return them weeks later is likely not the lesson you'd like to teach your children.
Before I adopted my first pet as a child — a guinea pig named April — my mom and I spoke to several families that had guinea pigs of their own. We learned all about the responsibilities associated with them, and got a more realistic idea about what to expect. Before we headed to the pet store, my mom had me sign a contract she'd drawn up that laid out the duties I would be responsible for, like feeding her, cleaning her cage, and refilling her water. I highly recommend doing something similar, so everyone in the family is prepared before bringing home your new pet.