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You see them for sale in the market—goldfish in pairs; and they certainly don’t cost much. They wouldn’t take much room in the house, and your child would be absolutely delighted to receive them as a present. But while everyone agrees on the benefits of gifting your child with a puppy, fewer have anything to say about whether that pair of goldfish would be a blessing or a curse on your family. Can goldfish be a positive influence on a grade-schooler?
They can. Here are five ways:
- That pair of goldfish can teach your child responsibility. There’s no better way to institute good habits then to introduce them in a way that they are completely non-negotiable. Fish have to be fed every day, no excuses. Of course, you will have to police this at first, but it won’t be long before you have a child who remembers himself to care for the fish and who accepts responsibility for their lives.
- Research shows that watching fish calms hyperactive children and helps them to focus and concentrate—and these days, who has a child that isn’t hyperactive?
- But even if your child doesn’t have hyperactivity issues, watching fish has also been shown to alleviate depression, reduce anger, and mitigate loneliness. It’s a mood-boosting pill that’s completely free of chemicals.
- Your child can learn empathy and putting another’s needs before his own while caring for his fish. Encourage him to make sure the fish have eaten before he eats, and to check that they are in a clean, restful environment before he goes to play and rest.
- Taking care of fish in a fishbowl can also be your child’s first introduction to real world biology. Encourage him to observe the fishes’ behavioral patterns and way of movements as well as discussing what is similar—and what is different— between people and fish.
It’s not a big investment — a pair of fish, a goldfish bowl, and a box of fish food. But keeping fish can make a big difference in your child’s life — a difference completely out of proportion with the little bit of space they’ll take up.