Choosing a pet may be as easy as going to an animal shelter and letting your heart decide, or it may be a long, thought-out process of analysing the pros and the cons of every non-shedding dog breed versus a goldfish.
And here's something else to throw into the mixture: your child's learning style.
Are your child's responsibility and persistence levels high enough to cope with looking after a pet? If you're thinking of choosing a dog, particularly one that needs exercise, is your child mobile and kinesthetic enough to enjoy the daily walks without complaining? Does their learning style need a quiet environment that makes budgies and yappy dogs less than ideal companions? Do they enjoy tactile input and will they stroke and brush the pet often? If not, perhaps that goldfish is indeed a better choice.