TV's Sam Wass talks about family time | Day Out With The Kids

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Secret Life of Sam: TV Scientist shares the science behind family time

Lisa O'Keeffe

07 November 2017

Time to Read

3 minutes

Have you ever wondered what your child gets up to at nursery, how they really act when you're not around, or what they're really thinking? For Sam Wass, one of the on-screen scientists from Channel 4's 'The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds', this is exactly what his job involves. Using real-life scenarios and challenges, it's a fascinating insight into the minds of kids - plus it makes for some very adorable viewing!

Ahead of the new series, we caught up with Sam to chat family time and food fights...

Kids from The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds

  1. How has family time changed in the last 10 years, and what changes do you expect to see in the next 10?

    One thing that you notice is families who may be sitting together, all plugged into separate devices with their headphones on, all in completely separate worlds! I think that this is partly a good thing, and partly a shame. Mentally, it gives us space, and freedom to explore on their own, which is very important for a child. But it’s a shame because chat between children and parents is a super important for childrens’ learning – and watching TV together can be a great way of starting a conversation. So do try to make sure that you get some shared screen time as well.

    Two children playing on their tablets in the living room

  2. Why are adventure and family time essential for every child?

    Family time is important for lots of reasons. Research suggests that one common trend, in babies and young children at least, is that children tend to spend shorter periods of time with their fathers – but these times are the most intensely exciting times. And they tend to spend more time with their mothers – but these are less intense times, where you experience more mid-range intensity emotions - both of which being equally valuable and important. This differs of course, though, from family to family, but spending time together is a great way to aid the development of a range of emotions. 

    Two kids from The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds meet a dinosaur

  3. What is the single biggest thing you’ve learnt since working on The Secret Life Of 4/5/6-year-olds?

    I think just how much children change between 4 and 6... 4-year-olds know what they want, but they’re really not very in touch with what others want. When they speak it’s about expressing what they want – and that’s all. But by 6, you see children saying all sorts of things that you know that they don’t really mean – just to impress their friends. It’s the birth of the human as the social animal. And it’s all to do with the transition as they start school.

  4. What types of days out are the best for childhood development?

    I’m not sure that there are rules here – it varies enormously from child to child. Children are generally pretty good at telling for themselves what they like – although bear in mind that they only know things that they’ve experienced themselves, so it’s worth making the effort to introduce them to new things as well.

    A mum and dad give their kids a piggyback on a day out

  5. If you were a child again for a day, what would be the first thing you’d do?

    Erm, I think a food fight! Definitely not allowed for adults :( 


See Sam in action in The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds, back on Channel 4 on Tuesday 7th November at 8pm, or read about his back to school tips. 



Lisa O'Keeffe

07 November 2017

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Lisa is Brand Manager at Day Out With The Kids. Originally from London, she now lives in Birmingham and is a big kid at heart!

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