Teaching children responsibility can be a challenging and tricky issue. I remember as a child my parents didn’t give me an allowance but they would pay us for jobs that weren’t our daily chores so we could learn to use money responsibly. One of the first things I was given as a responsibility was my hamster Brent.
So now that I have my own children, I wanted them to learn to care for a living creature, do real work and manage money. I thought taking a play out of my parents play book would be a good idea. Zara, my just turned 7-year-old showed interested in wanting a pet - so we made a deal. I had already given the girls a Sunday job where they were required to work 1 hour and get paid for it. (Home chores are not paid for as I believe as part of our family they need to do their share of the work.) She had been saving her money which comes from our work day, which is usually Sundays. From this money our children save some in there bank accounts and some remain at home for pet supplies and of course toy purchases too.
Mommy and Daddy would buy the cage, hamster and other needed items and she is responsible for buying the cage shavings and food. Her first purchase as we were getting ready for the hamster cost her $30 which was several hours of work for her and she felt that it was a lot of money! Next, we borrowed a book on hamster care and read the whole book while we waited for her hamster to be born. That way she understood the responsibility of caring for her little guy. All and all it took 2-3 months after she asked for the hamster to get ready and prepared.
We decided based on a friends advice to not buy our hamster from a box store but rather we chose a smaller home breeder that handle the babies more so they’re easier to be trained and already taught to be hand fed. I strongly recommend using a smaller business and the breeder we used was “Furball Critters,” https://furballcritters.com/.
Once we made an appointment with Furball critters, we waited until the baby hamster to be born and was six weeks old before he was ready to come home with us. We had our pick-up date and selected a little sable male and he was wonderful from almost the first. He was willing to come over to us and eat from Zara’s hand right away. Zara had him hand fed and able to be held within 3 days. She practiced and worked with her hamster whose name is “Kwazii” every morning and evening when the time was best for him to learn. Hamsters are awake in the early hours and dusk so she called this her training time. And now, 2 months later he is her very special friend and she takes him everywhere and is very proud of him and shows him off regularly.
To follow up as the responsibility continues, we have had to buy more shavings and she has had to spend her own money. I even heard her say to her sister “I need to go work I have to earn money for Kwazii.” I so love the ownership and care she is pouring into this little creature that he is hers. I can see my young girl blossoming.