The brain develops in direct response to faces. Making a book of familiar faces and whānau will support memory, language and communication pathways in baby’s brain. Connections between baby and important people in their whānau will be strengthened.

Why do it?

  • Baby is learning that some people are familiar and some are not.
  • Baby takes their cues about new people from watching the reactions of family members they know and trust.
  • When whānau point to someone in a photo book and say, ‘There’s ’, baby is learning to point too, and will eventually copy it.
  • When whānau turn the page and say, ‘Turn the page’, baby will be listening and learning. One day baby will hear ‘turn the page’ and will do it — then whānau know that baby understands.

How to do it

  • Sit with baby on your knee and hold the book of family photographs where you both can see it.
  • Say, ‘Look! Here’s Mama!’ and point.
  • Let baby explore the book in any order they choose, and use ‘parallel talk’ to describe what baby can see and what baby is doing. Watch baby’s face for a reaction.
  • Keep pointing at and naming people in the book.
  • Say, for example, ‘Where’s Nanny?’ Watch and wait for the time when, in reply, baby looks or points to the right person in the book (or to the real person, if they’re around). Then you’ll know that baby understands what you’ve asked.

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Family group
Photo album
Relationship, sense of family connection
Brother of a girl
Sister of a boy
Older sibling/cousin of the same gender
Younger sibling/cousin of the same gender
Female ancestor, grandfather, great grandfather
Male ancestor, grandfather, great grandfather
Eldest child
Youngest child
Newborn, breastfeeding baby
Titiro mai, ko wai tēnei? Look here, who is this?
Ko Amiria tēnei This is Amiria
Titiro anei a mana Look here's mana
Kei te aha a Kahukura? What is Kahukura doing?
Kei te kaukau a Kahukura Kahukura is swimming
Titiro ki te rākau Kirihimete Look at the Christmas tree