Friday, 04 November 2016


New child behavioural research from Tesco and psychologist Dr Sam Wass reveals that Mum really does know best with 75% of Mums guessing right

New research by child psychologist Dr Sam Wass, has found that it's Mums not Dads who really know what their children want this Christmas. The results were uncovered in two experiments carried out by Dr Wass and Tesco to investigate how confident parents are at present buying for Christmas and what it is their children really want.

Dr Sam Wass is back on our screens with the return of Channel 4's "The Secret Life of 4-Year-Olds" next week and leads the experiments. Experiment one seeked to discover if size played a role in what children choose while the second experiment put parents to the test to see if they could guess what their children would choose in a lineup of toys. Three quarters of mothers guessed correctly versus only a quarter of Dads meaning if you're struggling to think what your little ones want under the tree on the 25th, you had better get Mum to do the shopping.

Tesco polled 2,000 UK Parents with children aged 0 – 16 years and found that 66 per cent of parents admit they aren't sure what to buy their kids, causing a third of parents (31 per cent) to buy a toy their child didn't like. The inner child can have a serious effect on the decision making process, with 1 in 5 Dads admitting to buying a toy for their child because they wanted to play with it themselves.

To give parents a helping hand, Tesco will launch a 'Toy Tester Hotline' manned by an expert team of kids aged between five and 10. The children will be on hand to give advice on this year's Star Toys, including why they liked them and what the toy has to offer other children. With nearly a fifth of parents (18 per cent) planning to buy their children's Christmas presents in the first week of November, those needing guidance can call the Tesco 'Toy Tester Hotline' on Saturday 5th November between the hours of 10.00 and 14.00.

Dr Sam Wass comments: "Parents scores for guessing which present their child would like occurred in contrast to the confidence ratings they gave ahead of the test, which were consistently above 8 out of 10 across all parents (with '0' being not confident at all, and '10' being extremely confident). The results show a real disconnect between what parents think their child wants and what they actually want."

Children were also asked to choose a gift from identically wrapped presents ranging in size from a breakfast bowl to a post box. Contrary to expectations they found that bigger doesn't always mean better. In fact, they found that the most popular present, chosen by one in three children, was the smallest one. However, when it comes to looking at gender differences the majority of boys (75%) preferred bigger presents compared to 60% of girls choosing a smaller gift.

Dr Wass continues: "When it comes to present buying, we tend to think of bigger as better. However, our research shows that this may be changing. For girls in particular, small items like jewellery have sentimental and emotional worth attached to them and it's for these reasons girls place more value on smaller gifts. Female children also tend to be more practical in their decision making and chose smaller gifts so they would fit in their bedroom and not wanting big ones to be a waste of money. For more of the boys, though, bigger really does still mean better."

Dawn Lavalette, Head of Buying for Toys and Nursery at Tesco, commented: "With 66 per cent of parents admitting to not knowing what to buy their kids at Christmas, we hope the Toy Tester Hotline will help parents pick the perfect presents. Whether you need a Lego City Airport Air Show, a Paw Patrol Air Patroller or a Tesco exclusive such as Sindy, our expert team will be on hand to help you find the perfect gift at Tesco, home of the most loved toys."

The Tesco Toy Tester Hotline will be available from 10.00 until 14.00 on Saturday 5th November 2016. Anyone wanting to use the service should call 0207 553 7344.

Outside of this parents can get more tips and advice from a series of Tesco Toy Testers videos available at 

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