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Working with children

Tips for working with children in the Acquisition Lab

If you have to use equipment in the lab for your data collection (e.g., the big TV screen for a preferential looking experiment), you have to ask your subjects to come to campus; however, there are cases when you can do your data collection either in the lab or some other places, most likely the subjects' home (e.g., recording natural conversation, oral elicitation, grammaticality judgment task, etc.)

Here are advantage and disadvantage of using the Acquisition Lab in such cases:


  • Many children behave better when they are at a "special" place, like a university. They are ready to do something special. If you go to the children's houses, they will be too comfortable and may not want to do something special with a stranger (researcher = you).
  • In the lab, we don't have any distracting stuff (toys, etc.), and the children will concentrate on the task. If you go to the children's houses, they usually have a lot of toys and you may end up with playing with the children with those toys for an hour after the experiment. (They won't let you go...)
  • When the experiment is done, you can say "bye-bye", and you will be done.


  • You have to make an arrangement with children and their parents, set-up the time and give them direction to the campus. They usually know where UHM is, but not a specific building and/or parking spot.
  • Children may feel uncomfortable being in an unfamiliar place.


This is the most problematic part of inviting your subjects to the Acquisition Lab.
  • Click here for a sample letter with a direction*.
  • UH campus map
  • Visitor parking
Don't forget to give $3 for parking to your subjects (weekday daytime)
Parking on campus is not easy especially during the daytime on weekdays. The campus gets less crowded after 4pm. If you are working with pre-school age children, they usually have time after school, so after 4pm is a good time.

Parking Option 1: Guest Parking

The closest parking for Kuykendall Hall is the guest parking behind Kennedy Theatre (esp. if you can find a space on the opposite end from the theatre.) However, the parking space is limited and it is usually full during the daytime on weekdays.

Parking Option 2: Parking Structure

  • The parking structure on Dole street has more space, but it is a little far away from Kuykendall Hall. A good meeting place is the gate to the campus on Dole street (next to the NICE program building.)
  • Coming out of the parking structure and walking from there to Kuykendall Hall is a "l-o-n-g" way for small children, but if you take this positively, this is a good chance to get to know the children and make them them relax.
  • If you have a toy, it is a good idea to bring it to the meeting place. Your subjects can easily find you (there are not many college students who carry a teddy bear on campus), and the toy helps you to make the children laugh on your way to Kuykendall Hall.


The copies of certificate for children are available at the bottom of the page.

*These files are in Japanese. You can rewrite the text in English or in your own language, or you can copy and paste the picture files.
Ghizlane Ahrouch,
Nov 8, 2013, 6:25 PM
Ghizlane Ahrouch,
Nov 8, 2013, 6:25 PM