Knowing kids in general is key when trying to get answers in kid-focused research. It's not enough just to treat them differently from adults, you have to understand them differently. It takes a lot of working with kids to be able to really get inside their heads, but there are a few tips that anybody, even the beginner, can benefit from when researching children as consumers.

Six Simple Rules of Kid Research
                            Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.
                                                               –Greek Proverb

  1. Your own kids (or your nieces and nephews, or your neighbors' kids, or the kids you see on TV) are not good examples of how kids really are. Your existing relationships with them alter their behaviors and the attitudes they express in front of you. And they alter your ability to objectively understand them, as well.

  2. Developmental stages direct much of children's attitudes and behavior. Knowing a given child's developmental stage is key to understanding that child and his/her responses.

  3. Children are products of their environment. Getting a glimpse into the rest of their lives always helps you to understand better how they relate to your product or brand.

  4. Kids really are people. They may not always appear sophisticated, but they are immeasurably complex, and they have reasons for everything they think and do.

  5. Children are much more insightful and articulate than most adults think they are. They can give you just as deep and valuable information about themselves as adults can, as long as you use the right techniques.

  6. Kids are fun! (Even if being a kid isn't always so much so.) Not only must products marketed to kids be fun, but good research about and with kids should always be fun, too. If you're researching kids and you're not having a good time, something, somewhere, has gone wrong.

 

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