Are you looking for that extra “something” that can set your daycare apart from other centers? If that’s the case, you may want to consider adopting one or more classroom pets. Not only do pets provide children with a sense of responsibility, but they can also give your students a chance for positive interaction. Having a pet in your daycare can also be an educational experience, as your students will get the chance to observe the life cycle of an animal. However, not every pet is appropriate for a daycare or a classroom. Here are five great pet ideas if you are going to have a pet in your daycare center.
Five of the best pets for a classroom or a daycare include the following:
- Bearded Dragons
- Guinea Pigs
My goal is to take a look at each of these pets individually to determine what makes them a good fit for daycares and classrooms. Some of these factors will include how they interact with children, as well as the level of care they require, and whether or not they are appropriate for these settings.
If you are looking for a great pet for your daycare center, a rabbit may be a choice that you may have not previously considered. However, rabbits make excellent pets because they are easy to care for, and they tolerate handling by young children rather well. According to Pet MD, a few other reasons that rabbits make great classroom pets are that they are intelligent, social, and affectionate. Rabbits also require daily interaction with people or other rabbits, which will give your students a sense of responsibility when caring for them.
If there is one drawback to having a rabbit as your daycare center’s pet, it is that you are going to have to have an enclosure big enough to make sure that your pet gets plenty of exercise. This enclosure will have to be cleaned regularly, as you will need to be sure that it has plenty of grass or hay to make the rabbit comfortable. You will also have to provide high-grade feed for your rabbit, as well as fresh vegetables and greens. Another drawback to having a rabbit as your classroom pet is that they can become defensive if cornered, which may result in scratches or bites.
Despite their scary name, bearded dragons are quite gentle, and can make excellent daycare center pets. These creatures get their name from a patch of skin under their throats that resembles a beard when it becomes puffed. Because bearded dragons originally come from the desert, they will require a habitat that is relatively dry and warm. Before you decide to put a bearded dragon in your daycare, please keep in mind that these animals take a few days to adjust to a new environment, and may not be immediately visible or friendly.
However, once your bearded dragon adjusts to being in your daycare center amongst all of your students, they are quite comfortable with being held. This makes them the perfect pet for daycare directors who are looking to provide their students with an interactive experience. Perhaps the main drawback to having a bearded dragon as your daycare center pet is that they are fragile. Students must exercise caution when handling a bearded dragon. They must never hold the dragon by its tail, as they tend to break off rather easily.
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While rats may not be the first pet that comes to mind for your daycare center, they are loving and affectionate animals that make great pets for young children. Rats are highly intelligent, and they are also quite easy to care for, which also makes them a great choice for your daycare. A few other bonuses to having a rat as the official pet of your daycare center is that they are friendlier, smell better, and are less likely to bite than mice or hamsters. Despite their reputation for being dirty, rats are also clean animals. They typically eat dry food, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables.
If there is one negative aspect to having a rat as a pet, it is that their front incisor teeth can get fairly long and sharp. While rats are not vicious by nature, they do tend to nibble, which can result in an injury if the rats are not provided with chew sticks to grind their teeth down. Rats are also known as escape artists and should be kept in an enclosure that is made of plastic or glass, complete with a solid bottom and secure hinges. Always make sure that children are well-supervised when handling a rat, as they can disappear quite easily.
Although fish may be the easiest pet on this list to care for, they also provide the least amount of stimulation and interaction for your students. Still, they are fascinating to watch and can provide your students with a sense of responsibility from feeding them and keeping their tanks clean. Fish are also known for reducing Stress and Anxiety amongst children, which is a bonus if you have a few anxious children at your daycare. Watching how the fish behave and discussing their life cycle can also provide an educational experience for your students.
Perhaps the biggest downside to keeping fish as pets in your daycare center is that the aquarium must be kept clean to ensure the health and happiness of the fish. Of course, you are going to have to keep an eye on smaller children to ensure that their hands, or other foreign objects, do not end up in the aquarium. Fish also require a particularly strict diet, but their food can be purchased from pet stores or supermarkets everywhere. Just make sure that your students are not sharing their lunch or snack with the fish.
Guinea pigs are known for being cute and cuddly, which makes them one of the most popular pets for daycare centers or classrooms. Because they are larger than gerbils or hamsters, guinea pigs can also be handled much more easily. The minimal care required for guinea pigs also makes them a great choice for a daycare or classroom pet. However, guinea pigs tend to get bored quite easily and require daily interaction and stimulation.
If there is one downside to having guinea pigs as your daycare center pet, it is that they do not like to be alone. Because guinea pigs prefer to be in the company of other guinea pigs of the same gender, you may have to get more than one for your daycare center. They also require plenty of space to run and exercise, which means that you will have to provide a large enclosure if you choose to have guinea pigs in your daycare center. Other than this, guinea pigs require lots of vitamin C in their diets. Be sure to provide them with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
If you are looking for a pet for your daycare center, there are several options available to you. Plenty of pets provide your students with companionship, interaction, and a sense of responsibility that will benefit them greatly later in life. One thing you should keep in mind when selecting a pet for your daycare or classroom is that they are easy to care for. You will also want a social animal, and adjust to being handled well. A few animals that fit these categories are rabbits, bearded dragons, rats, fish, and guinea pigs. Just be sure that you can give these wonderful creatures the room and the time they deserve. Your students will thank you for it.
Are there any special insurance requirements if your daycare center has a pet? While there are not any insurance requirements mandated by law if your day care center has a pet, it is always a good idea to have general liability insurance and professional liability insurance for your daycare center., these insurances will help to protect your personal and professional assets, should any claims arise from an incident that happens at your daycare center.
Do you need any special permits to have a pet at your daycare center? Pets are quite common in most households. In fact, it is not uncommon for most houses to have several pets. However, if you are going to have a pet in your daycare center, there are a few rules and regulations that you will have to follow. These regulations are determined on a state-by-state basis. For example, Minnesota has a law that states that a daycare center may not have a reptile as a pet. Check with your local and state governments for any additional information regarding pets at daycare centers in your state.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
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Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Childcare Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online daycare business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a childcare business owner, I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to retain clients, find good employees and keep the business growing all while trying to stay competitive.
That’s why I created Daycare Business Boss: I want to help childcare business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.