We thought of dwarf ones because they were totally cute, but they are so skitty and fast and not very cuddly. They need to be housed in pairs don't they? We got a Syrian. To be honest we were warned hamsters were really dull, slept all day and bit when handled. Ours is a brilliant pet. He comes/wakes up when we offer him his favourite nuts...he does acrobatics on his bars, he chills out in dd's lap. He very used to be handled. He's lovely.
I'd definitely recommend a Syrian. I have no idea why anyone would advise against it for children.
They are larger and easier to handle. By nature, they are more docile. They live alone so no risk of fighting between two and having to get another cage. Molly is an adorable little girl who runs to the cage door and looks at you with adorable, pleading eyes as soon as you walk into the room because she wants to play. She has never bitten, although hamsters do bite. He climbs the bars, is easy to handle with strangers, loves playing and being out, climbs the stairs after being trained,mid an adorable hamster who loves stroking and is so cute. Amazing with children. Six hamsters since our first one, leading to now, and tbh, I haven't met a bad hamster unless its been handled or tamed badly,
Our dwarfs (Archie and Tommy) are another thing altogether, they re Chinese dwarfs (we were recommend these p). Lovely things, don't mind being handled, but, because they are so small, were harder to tame and more skittis. They are super speedy and seem more likely to go into fight/flight mode. They aren't easily handled, and although we'd got a big cage, they thought and we ended up having to put them in separate cages. They are lovely, but seem t naturally be more speedy, skittish and harder to handle and tame. I wouldn't recommend these apart from possibly for older children. We have had four dwarfs, Archie and Tommy (current), and Brandy and Snap. Brandy and Snap didn't fight and stayed together until they died within a week of each other (aged 2 and a half, so a good age) but they were also skitty and took longer to tame. When we tamed them, they were lovely little things but they were more boring, quicker and although they were lovely eventually, they aren't my choice of pets.
Syrians are better for children, they are less skittish and less likely to be bitey, although hamsters in general tend to be more awake when the child is asleep.
Make sure you choose the biggest cage you can as hamsters are very busy little things at night. This cage is great, I had one this size for my hamsters (first a syrian then a chinese): http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/small_pets/hutches_cages/hamster_cages/hamster_cages/197362?gclid=CNaBnbiZu7YCFQfKtAodOnYAjw
I'm a huge advocate of rats as children's pets, they are easier to handle than hamsters as they are larger and less skittish, they are much happier to be held than hamsters and can be incredibly affectionate. They aren't nocturnal either.