Teaching Kids Care And Responsibility With Fish

Teaching Kids Care And Responsibility With Fish

This post is brought to you by PetSmart. All opinions are my own.

My two youngest, who are seven and nine, have noticeably been very “me” oriented lately. We felt it was time for them to learn a little responsibility.

After a small talk with my husband, we decided that maybe having a small pet like a fish could help broaden their worlds as well as help them learn more about responsibility. The routine of feeding fish twice a day and keeping their habitat clean would make learning these valuable skills fun.


We headed to our local PetSmart to pick out our new friends! Emma was drawn to the betta fish thanks to its beautiful flowing fins and multiple colors. Also because of my past experience with betta fish, I agreed they would be good, hearty companions.


Ethan found a new friend that was red and blue, like his room. Emma found one that was her favorite color, which is light blue. Both kids were excited beyond belief to take home a new aquatic friend!

Yep… I said friend! Both children were already talking to their fish while we were walking through the aisles to find the rest of our necessities. If you’re already interested in getting your child a little creature, click here to get started!

That’s one of the benefits of giving your child a small pet like this. Kids often see their pets as friends, thus they will want to protect them. When you explain that things like too much noise can scare a pet, they will understand the need for good behavior. Win, Win… right?


I could already see both of them starting to think from the perspective of the fish while they were picking out items to place in the tank. We had discussions about what would be pretty in the tank, and what would actually be useful for the fish to hide underneath or behind.


The car ride home was priceless. Both children were holding their fish and talking to them about their new homes. Emma told her fish that “Everything is alright now. You’ve got a new home!” Ethan held a discussion with his fish about what name he should give him.

Setting up their tanks was an educational experience, definitely. We talked about why we couldn’t use soap to wash the rocks and ornaments, and why we couldn’t just pour them into a tank of water. They helped measure out the water conditioner and determine if we had a very close matching temperature for the new tank. Little did they know that they were learning math and science skills while caring for their pet!


We placed both tanks in the children’s rooms and had a discussion about how much and how often we feed our pets. We also discussed what would happen if we decided to keep feeding (overfeeding) our friends. I couldn’t believe how long I held my children’s attention while we talked about their new friends.

After the kids watched the fish for a while, they went onto their regular daily activities. About an hour later, Ethan came in to tell me something very important. Apparently he wasn’t going to be able to play his video game as much as before because he was going to be taking care of his fish. I tried not to giggle out loud and answered that maybe that was a good idea. Ethan spent the next two hours in his room playing while talking to his new friend.

I love that Emma and Ethan are going down this path together. They have a common goal (to keep their new friend happy and alive), which helps to foster teamwork and responsibility. Instead of silly sibling fighting, they are bonding and sharing this experience with each other.

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  1. Wendy Jabkowski says

    Fish are such a great first pet!

  2. Katelyn says

    I have a Betta fish at home,he is blue,and his name is Jack.I have a small tank that I keep him in.its simmaler to that one.

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