Prince George, Charlotte and Louis’ guinea pigs are more than just cute, experts reveal they’re teaching the kids some very important life lessons too

Prince William has revealed that his kids have some ‘pretty cool’ pets and experts say the animals can really help a child’s development

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis with guinea pig
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Like many children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis have pet guinea pigs at home - and experts have said the cute animals can help teach young children important life lessons. 

The Wales family, like many families, have always enjoyed having pets. Their Windsor home, which is set to undergo some serious renovations soon, has seen dogs and hamsters bring joy to their lives and Prince William has now revealed that their current family pets are some ‘pretty cool’ guinea pigs. 

During a visit to Woodgate Valley Urban Farm near Birmingham last week, the Prince of Wales was introduced to the guinea pigs that the farm uses to help support those experiencing mental health challenges. Stroking the small animal, he revealed that his family has guinea pigs at home, though they often run off and the task of cleaning out their cage often falls to him  “because the children forget to do it.”

It’s a relatable struggle for many parents. After months, or perhaps even years, of little ones begging for a pet, the task of actually caring for them often falls to the parent or parents. But, one study has shown how giving kids the responsibility of caring for an animal, making sure they feed, clean and spend time with it, can ultimately teach the kids to treat people with the same kindness and patience as they grow up.

In their report The Vital Relationship Between Pets & Children, Champion Pet Food share that taking care of a pet can help children develop social skills by not only encouraging them to get outside more often to play with them, but also by teaching them to ‘respect other living things’ and treat them with kindness and tenderness. 

Especially if the parent can teach their children the best way to take care of an animal, taking the time to help them feed, water and clean the animal, they can practise caregiving and develop responsible behaviour with ‘improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.’

Other benefits they list include; 

  • Children who grow up with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma.
  • Playing with dogs may help lower blood pressure.
  • Kids with pets get outside more often — going for walks, running and playing — so they enjoy all the associated health benefits while getting connected to nature.
  • Emerging readers often feel more comfortable reading aloud to a pet.
  • Nurturing a pet is like getting a parental role — practising caregiving.
  • Feeding and caring for a pet can help develop responsible behaviour.
  • Children learn how to respect other living things.
  • Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.
  • Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings.
  • Cuddling a pet reduces stress, loneliness and anxiety.
  • Children can get multiple lessons about life, like reproduction, birth, illnesses, accidents, death, and bereavement.

Guinea pigs are an especially good pet for young kids like George, Charlotte and Louis as their everyday needs are very simple, according to small animal experts Kavee. “With a topped-up water bottle, fresh food, a spot clean and a few toys to keep them entertained, they’re pretty much set for the day,” they say. 

So, if your little one is looking for a pet, you may have found an answer in guinea pigs - just hope you don’t become like Prince William with all the cleaning duties falling to you! 

In other royal news, Prince George, Charlotte and Prince Louis will skip this iconic royal event this year - but the reason why is completely understandable. And Prince George, Charlotte and Louis' favourite ‘relaxed and playful’ royal relative revealed - they ‘bring a sense of normality’ to their lives. Plus, Prince George, Charlotte and Louis will be delighted with the exciting new feature in King Charles’ garden - and it also lets the monarch live out his own childhood dream.

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.