Purpose – Extant research downplays the influence of children under the age of eight on food-related decision making and consumption within families. This paper seeks to address this issue. Design/methodology/approach – Utilising novel techniques to elicit responses, the research employed focus group and interviews of a sample of children aged between three and eight years and a sample of their parents. Findings – The exploratory findings of this study suggest that younger children apply effective if less sophisticated pestering techniques than older children, and play a significant role in determining family food consumption. They demonstrate a purposeful and directed pursuit of food brands and products, along with an awareness of the purpose of promotion and a desire to use a number of persuasive techniques in their dealings with parents. This contradicts some of the existing thinking that younger children in the 3-8 year age group have little/less influence on purchasing food. Originality/value – This research offers a number of contributions in that it presents the views of both children and parents, and uses novel techniques through visual representations of feelings and emotions to elicit findings.