So, a few months ago I bought a turtle for my daughter. She really wanted to get pet and had been hounding me for several months. Of course, being the awesome dad I am, and honestly just getting tired of the constant nagging, I finally gave in and got her the pet she wanted oh so much. Joking aside, there are a lot of good reasons to get your child a pet which this post covers in more detail.
It took us a little while to decide on a pet though, because we did not really want something generic and typical like a hamster or dog.
We finally decided on a Turtle, mostly because my daughter had seem them in cartoons and instantly fell in love with the shelled critters. You may think that turtles are hard to take care of or just plain useless to have around, but that could not be any further from the truth.
Let me tell you what happened when I bought my daughter a pet turtle. What I have to say might just surprise you!
Why A Turtle?
Ok, so right from the get go we decided that we did not want your average everyday pet. Sure, there is nothing wrong with a cat, dog, or some other generic pet, but that just is not what my daughter wanted. Plus, if I was going to have a pet in my home, I wanted it to be something really neat, different, unique, and entertaining. A plain old cat was definitely out of the question.
To be fair, the main reason we got a turtle was because my daughter had watched the movie Finding Nemo dozens of times over. She absolutely fell in love with that movie and moreover she fell in love with the turtles in the movie. Specifically, she loved the turtle named Crush. Obviously our turtle is now named Crush thanks to my daughter’s love for that cartoon turtle. Yes, that is why we got it, but there are also other reasons.
Turtles actually make for some pretty good pets, which is true for a variety of reasons. First off, turtles are relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain. You need to get the turtle itself, a tank, a heat and light lamp, a basking area, some plants and decorations, a filter, and some substrate. That may sound like it is going to be expensive, but those are all more or less one time purchases, plus feeding turtles is not pricey either. In the long run, turtles are not very expensive.
Furthermore, turtles provide kids with a great learning experience. They teach your kids responsibility by making them look after something. The turtles need feeding, cleaning, they need attention, and their tank needs to be maintained too. it’s a good way to teach kids responsibility and how to take care of something. There is also the fact that turtles are really neat to observe and watch, plus they can be pretty interactive too. Turtles may not move all that fast, but watching them scuttle around on the ground is pretty entertaining none the less, or at least my daughter thinks so.
The First 2 Weeks
The first few weeks were definitely a bit of a challenge due to the learning curve involved with taking care of the turtle. However, that does not mean that it was not fun and rewarding too. Everything that is rewarding takes a bit of work and effort, especially in the beginning. The first 2 weeks proved to be the most difficult, but the difficulty soon passed and turned into lots of fun and joy.
For the first few weeks I did have to get quite involved and help out a lot. After all, my daughter had never owned a pet before, especially not something like a turtle, so of course, I as the adult had to lend quite the helping hand. Kids are great and they love pets, but until my daughter learned the responsibility of owning one, I did have to teach it to her and set her on the right path. Yes, this means that you as the parent will have to put in a fair amount of time and energy into taking care of the turtle, at least in the first few weeks.
One of the things I had to help with was setting up the turtle tank. It does take a fair amount of know how to get the job done, which luckily for me is where the internet came into play! Anyway, I did my research on how to set up a turtle tank, which I did with my daughter by my side so she learned at the same time. We had to get the right size of tank, add the right filter, add the right lights, add a basking station, substrate, plants, a dry area and a wet area, and a few other things too.
You see, setting the tank up is perhaps the most labor intensive aspect of having a turtle. To be fair, while it did take some time and research, realistically it was not that hard or time consuming to get the tank set up. Plus, now my daughter knows the ins and outs of setting up a tank ideal to house a turtle.
Another great part about getting my daughter a turtle was that it helped teach her some responsibility in terms of caring for a living creature and providing it with a good home. Once again, me and my daughter spent a couple of hours on the internet, obviously with me at the helm. Together we learned everything there is to know about taking care of a turtle. With the help of good old Google, we learned what turtles eat and how to feed them, what the water and light conditions need to be, what temperature they like, and everything in between.
This was a valuable learning curve for my daughter because she learned that it does take some knowledge and effort to take care of something like a turtle. Knowing how to be responsible with and take care of a living being is an essential life skill that everyone needs to know. I’m glad for the turtle in that respect because it has helped instill a sense of nurturing and responsibility in my daughter at a young age. In the first two weeks of having the turtle my daughter really started to get more knowledgeable and step up her game in terms of her ability to care for a living creature.
I do have to say that learning everything about turtle care and setting up the tank was a learning curve for me, plus it did require a fair amount of research time. My daughter is still young and not too proficient with reading or internet skills, so most of this work was done by me. However, my daughter is also a very quick study and she has really impressed me.
Sure, I did lots of the research and it was indeed a challenge for me, but my daughter has really shown me that she has the ability and the drive to really take care of a pet like a turtle. It was a challenge in the beginning, but my precious little angel is getting better at turtle care every single day. She has managed to take on the responsibility more and more, which is something that I love to see. Yes, the first two weeks were the hardest part, but things quickly became much easier as time passed.
Weeks 3 – 4 And Onwards
So, yes, I did lots of the work for the first two weeks, because after all, it takes time for kids to learn and adapt to new things. This is not to say that I did not enjoy it, because I did. The little guy we named Crush has definitely grown on me. I honestly did not think that my daughter would get the hang of things so quickly. Plus, I definitely did not think that such a young girl, no matter how much I love her, would be able to take on such a responsibility at her age. Boy was I ever wrong! My little girl has seriously impressed me with the way in which she has taken over responsibility.
She is now getting into the routine of turtle care, feeding it every day, making sure the water and lighting is fine, and just general care too. Yes, I do still check in from time to time, and seeing as the tank is quite big, I do help her with cleaning. However, she is quickly taking over with most of the turtle care aspects. Yah, I still help here and there, and I just make sure that the turtle is happy, healthy, and alive, but my little girl is quickly becoming the leader of the operation.
A Few Months On
Now it has been just a little over two months since we got Crush the turtle and things are definitely moving in an awesome direction, both for the turtle and for my daughter, plus for me as well. I can’t help mentioning it again, but my daughter has managed to impress me so much with the way she has taken charge. She has indeed taken the task of turtle care very seriously and she is now doing a fantastic job of it. I could not be any happier if I tried, especially because I can see how happy my little girl is.
There are so many positive and beneficial aspects of owning a turtle that I would have never imagined before. Here are some of the reasons as to why I am glad that I got my daughter a pet turtle.
I love how it has taught my daughter responsibility. She is a very quick study, she is smart, and very compassionate too. She has learned to look after all of the needs of the turtle and more. Owning a turtle has given her a sense of responsibility and commitment. She has learned that it takes time and effort to take care of a living being, which mind you she is doing very well. She has also learned that it is quite rewarding too.
Another thing that I really like about my daughter having a pet turtle is that it has managed to take some of the attention away from TV and video games. Funny enough, this is pretty ironic seeing as inspiration behind getting a turtle was from a movie. Anyway, I hate the idea of my daughter rotting away, getting fat, and not learning anything sitting in front of that blasted screen.
The turtle has been the perfect solution to this. My daughter used to spend all day in front of the TV and on the computer. Now the turtle takes up a couple hours of her time every day, in a good way too. Sure, she still watches TV and plays games on the computer, but the turtle has managed to provide her with a good split between TV, the computer, and having fun with the turtle.
I also like how my daughter has learned a lot, specifically about turtles. Learning is always important because knowledge is power. Not only that, but learning how to learn, how to use the internet for research, and building knowledge are all things which my daughter has learned how to do, all of which are valuable skills in today’s world. Sure, most of her knowledge right now is based around turtles, but the fact remains that she now knows how to learn, plus she is beginning to see the value of knowledge too.
My daughter has also gotten into daily routines and has learned how to commit to something on a daily basis. She always feeds the turtle, plays with it, makes sure the tank is up to snuff, and just makes sure that it is happy in general. Routines are an unfortunate and necessary evil of life, so the fact that my daughter has learned to fall into daily routines is something that I am a big fan of as a parent.
To be honest, in the beginning I was not all that enthusiastic about the whole turtle thing, but I quickly came around the idea. I now love the little guy just like my daughter does. I never thought that knowing so much about turtles can be so rewarding, but boy was I ever wrong. My daughter and I are now both turtle pros, and honestly I take pride in that.
Now some of my daughter’s friends are asking their parents for turtles too. It seems as though we have started a little trend, a good trend that helps kids learn so many important life skills, plus having a pet is always fun anyway.
Some Challenges Faced Along The Way
There were a couple of challenges that my daughter and I faced on the way, but they were nothing major. None the less, these challenges are worth mentioning.
We did not buy a very good filter in the beginning. Me being a frugal parent, I made the unfortunate decision to go with a very cheap filter. Of course, you get what you pay for, so I ended up with an inefficient filter that ended up breaking down after just a few weeks. I definitely learned my lesson here. I went out, did some research, and bought a filter with a slightly higher price tag. No, I did not buy the most expensive one out there, but I did get one that was not all that cheap, plus I did some research on what a good filter is from this site. Now since I have bought the new filter, we have not had any such problems.
Another challenge that I did not see coming was feeding the turtle. I thought it would be simple enough since there is specific turtle food out there, plus they love all kinds of fruits and veggies. However, I did not realize that turtles could actually be picky eaters. It took some time and a bit of uneaten food for us to figure out what exactly Crush the turtle preferred to eat. However this was only a minor challenge, so no big deal.
The bottom line is that neither my daughter nor I could be any happier with Crush the turtle. The little guy has managed to teach both her and me so many different things. My daughter has learned how to use the internet, improved her reading and research skills, and has learned all about commitment and responsibility. I would be lying if I said that the turtle has not grown on me. I think I love the little bugger more than my daughter does. So, in short, buying Crush the turtle for my little girl was one of the best decisions I have made as a parent so far.