Inquisitiveness and high energy needs to be directed into positive avenues. Young children are not very aware of safety issues. Adults need to keep them safe.

Have a look at page 16 in the Whakatipu booklet Te Kōhuri 1 with parents. Ask them:

  • What do you see in this cartoon drawing?
  • Does this look like your tamaiti?
  • What things are they getting into?
  • How are they getting into places you’d rather they didn’t?
  • What other things have you noticed about their current abilities and behaviours?

There are a few important messages on this one page.

  • Firstly, the tamaiti is clever at getting into places, but not very aware of safety issues. Adults need to keep them safe.
  • The second paragraph refers to Kupe, the great navigator who sailed all the way across the Pacific Ocean to Aotearoa.
  • The third point is a reminder that exploring and ‘getting into things’ is helpful for prompting a young child’s interest in learning.


  • What safety concerns do you have in your kāinga where your tamaiti is concerned?
  • Why do you think Kupe and his explorations are referred to here?
  • What is your understanding of the term haututū?

Page 8 of the Whakatipu booklet Te Kōhuri 1 describes haututū as ‘someone who is very inquisitive and sometimes annoying’.

  • What things does your tamaiti do that could be called haututū?
  • Does everyone view these behaviours in the same way?
  • What do you think makes some people feel differently about certain behaviour?

Keeping things positive

If parents see their child’s behaviour in a negative light, perhaps you, the whānau supporter, can encourage them to focus on the positive side of things.

Parenting tamariki at this stage can be demanding at times, but also very rewarding. But when parents are tired or stressed this can feel like a tough job.

  • What do you do when you just feel like lying on the couch and chilling but your little one would rather be climbing, trying to get outside or exploring the contents of the fridge or cupboards?

If things can be kept positive the outcomes will be more pleasant and the learning will be greater. Remember that play is children’s learning. We can’t expect kids this age to sit quietly for too long. Tamariki need to move around, use their big muscles, and let off steam.

  • What are your strategies for helping them to let off steam on wet or cold days?

There are other Tākai booklets that offer guidance about dealing with children’s behaviours. Look at page 6 of The World of Under-fives with parents and talk about the 10 basics for a fair and firm approach.

You might also find the ara mātua for this stage helpful and the ngā tohu whānau on pages 22–23 of the Whakatipu booklet Te Kōhuri 1.

How does this relate to the Tākai resources?

Baby Wall Frieze – Tukuna ahau kia mahi, kia mōhio ai ahau me pēhea te ako – Let me do things over and over again

Six things children need – Te hanga ao tōtika, ao haumaru – A structured and secure world.