Why do it?
- Gentle tickling can be a fun game with someone baby knows and trusts, and is great for strengthening their relationship and baby’s confidence.
- It won’t take many repetitions before baby knows what’s coming and starts giggling or wriggling before the tickle happens. This tells you they’ve made a pathway of connections in their brain for this game.
- If baby can anticipate, baby can participate.
How to do it
- Ask baby if they’d like a game. If baby has just eaten, wait for a little while so it can settle.
- Sit with baby comfy on your lap, and with one of their hands palm-up in your hand.
- Gently make circles in their palm as you say, ‘Round and round the garden, like a teddy bear. One step…two steps…’ (‘step’ your fingers towards baby’s underarm or chin, ‘And tickle you under there!’ (Tickling baby in one of the spots your fingers ‘stepped’ to.)
- Repeat until one of you has had enough.
- Be prepared to change the game or stop if baby shows they don’t like it or is over it.
- Remember to keep the tickling gentle.
Using more te reo Māori
|Te reo Māori||English|
|Whakangaokohia whakangaokohia To tickle, amuse Maori | Verb||To tickle, amuse|
|Pārekareka pārekareka To be pleasant, pleased, enjoyable, fun Maori | Verb||Enjoyable, fun|
|Tauparapara tauparapara To play together Maori | Verb||To play together|
|Kia ngāwari||Be gentle|
|Homai ōu ringaringa||Give me your hands|
|Huakina tō ringa||Open your hand|
|Huri huri haere||Around and around|
|Teti pea teti pea Teddy bear - a soft toy Maori | Noun||Teddy bear|
|Kotahi te hīkoi||One step|
|E rua ngā hīkoi||Two steps|
|Whakangaoko ki raro nei!||Tickle under here!|
|Kia āta haere||Go slow|
|He aha hei tākaro māu, e te tau?||
What would you like to play with, my darling?
|He kēmu anō māu?||Do you want another game?|
|Ka nui tēnā, e te tau||That's enough, my darling|
|He pai ki ā koe tēnei kēmu?||Do you like this game?|
|Kei te hiamoe koe?||Are you tired?|