I'm actually gonna say ferrets are not good with small children. I've had 4 and loved them. I want another one day but not with small children. You need to clean their cage daily to keep stink down, they can not be kept outside as they are temperature sensitive, they can get nippy - the males are more lovey than females, they can easily be hurt by little ones, they WILL tear into your couch and other furniture if you don't properly seal it up which is dangerous for them, the steal things (they really do, trust me) and they need time outside the cage daily. They are fabulous pets for older kids. They have some good sides. It's almost like trying to describe why you should have children, lol.
How about a hamster, rat, or guinea pig?