The 10 Best FurReal Friends
This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in March of 2017. If you're not ready to make your child responsible for a living animal (and let's face it, you'd end up doing all of the work) then giving him or her a FurReal Friend is a smart compromise. They make sounds and engage with children, letting them feel as if they have a real creature in their care — and even better, you'll never have to walk it, pick up after it, or rush it to the vet. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best furreal friend on Amazon.
How FurReal Friends Help With Child Development
Robotic pets can be just as effective at alleviating loneliness as the real deal.
While it may be tough to get children interested in washing dishes or taking out the trash — because neither of these experiences is adorable or involves large, captivating eyes — it's a bit easier to make a child take an interest in helping out with a pet or at least something that resembles one. And that's important because studies have found that children who take on a sense of responsibility at a young age are more likely to be successful later. Luckily for parents, when you give your child a FurReal Friend, you offer that sense of responsibility, without bringing in an actual animal who will shed or go to the bathroom on the carpet.
Having a toy that acts like a real live animal also encourages the all-important make-believe play that children engage in. Research has found that, children who participate in this type of imaginary play — something they can easily do with a robotic pet as they imagine it asking for a walk, begging for a treat, giving them affection, and more — have better school readiness skills. Even without those studies, most parents can likely agree that engaging in imaginative activities is great for another reason: it means the child isn't hunched over a tablet or sitting stationary in front of a video game for hours. FurReal friends pull them away from such hobbies.
Giving your son or daughter a FurReal Friend can offer one other important thing that an actual animal can offer, without all the mess: affection and companionship. Robotic pets can be just as effective at alleviating loneliness as the real deal. They can also give the illusion of affection. Parents who don't have time to play or snuggle with their children as often as they'd like, but also aren't quite ready for a real pet, could do well to give their kids a FurReal Friend. It can allay the pleas for a puppy, and the guilt moms and dads feel when they're too busy to engage with their children.
Using FurReal Friends To Teach Pet Care
When your child begins to ask that question, "Can I have a puppy?" or "Can we get a kitten?" it's hard to say no to her cute face. Especially considering that having animals in the house can be good for children's and babies' health. But, before you give into the plea, consider giving your child a FurReal Friend first. It can make the transition to actual pet ownership much easier on everyone. For starters, it can be tough for a child to get accustomed to the fact that an animal gets up bright and early for its meal and first outing. Using a FurReal Friend, you can begin to train your child to wake up at a set time every day to feed and walk the pet. On the mornings she forgets, you won't be stuck with the task the way you would be if this were a real animal. By the time you do have a living cat or dog, your child will be more used to the schedule.
By the time you do have a living cat or dog, your child will be more used to the schedule.
Another habit your child will need to get used to is just being aware of her animal's whereabouts. When you have a real pet, it may try to walk out the front door when it's left open or wander into the street if not properly wacthed. Sometimes, when you're busy, you'll need to put your child in charge of supervising the animal. Luckily, FurReal Friends will train your children to always keep an eye on their four-legged companion. You can ask your child regularly where his robotic pet is, and get him the mindset of thinking like that for himself by the time you get an actual animal.
FurReal Friends have toys and accessories, just like real animals have various items they leave around the home. Some models have baby rattles, bottles, sippy cups, and even ice cream cones. Just like your child will one day need to pick up after his animal throughout the day, putting his various balls and ropes back into a container, he'll also need to get in the habit of putting his FurReal Friend's items back in a toy organizer at the end of the day. Before bedtime, you can ask your child, "Did you put all of your FurReal Friend's things away?" and train him to think of this on his own before introducing a breathing, jumping, mess-making pet into the environment.
How To Choose The Right FurReal Friend For Your Child
There are several types of FurReal Friends to choose from, so you have to ask yourself a bit about your child's personality, needs, and preferences. There are both FurReal Friends that are modeled after real animals, like cats and dogs, and those modeled after fantasy creatures such as dragons and unicorns. If your child is going through a fantasy-loving phase right now — which, by the way, could be an important part of her development — you may opt for one of the more mystical creatures. If, however, she wants an animal grounded in reality, there are plenty to choose from.
You should also consider if your child wants this toy more for affection and companionship or entertainment.
You should also consider if your child wants this toy more for affection and companionship or entertainment. Some models can do tricks and movements that will get your child giggling, like the dancing penguin or monkey that can hang from items around your home. Meanwhile, models like the panda or snow leopard will ask to be bottle fed and will coo when pet, providing more of an affectionate experience.
Size may also be a concern if you have a smaller home and don't want full-sized robotic animals covering the floors. Luckily, there are miniature models available. These can easily fit in a toddler's backpack or suitcase and are ideal for providing children with comfort when they're at school or along for a road trip. Of course, some kids like to have miniature and full-sized varieties and pretend that the latter are the parents of the former.
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