Find resources / Articles / Tamaiti haututū

Curiosity and exploration show a child learning and growing. Encourage whānau to see this activity positively and avoid negative labels.

Curiosity and exploration

Curiosity is on top for pēpi at this time and exploration is their main activity. Making and keeping the environment safe for them is an on-going job for whānau. But it’s important as it allows pēpi to explore, examine, learn and strengthen brain development.

A curious pēpi will want to explore – everything! They will put hands in their kai, pull at glasses and earrings, and want the remote or phone that’s in your hand. If pēpi is mobile, crawling or pulling themselves up to stand, it can be an extra busy and sometimes stressful time for whānau. Helping them to see this developmental stage in a positive light is really important.

Ask whānau:

  • Have you heard of the term ‘haututū’?
  • What does it mean in your whānau?

Don't label

Describing pēpi as naughty or a mischief during this stage is not helpful or correct. We know that negative labelling is not great for their learning or their sense of self-esteem. It may be said jokingly but the problem with labels is they can stick. It’s much better for pēpi to hear themselves described as clever, curious or inquisitive rather than naughty or mischievous.

  • Are there people in your whänau who have been described as haututū?
  • What are they likely to be doing to be described as haututū?
  • Do you think their behaviours are to be expected for their developmental age?

See the positives

Ngā tohu whānau refer to 6 things that make for positive relationships between parents and their kids.

A curious, busy and active child who is parented with encouragement, understanding, and realistic expectations will be seen as bright, clever and intelligent. A pēpi with the same characteristics whose parents see those behaviours as naughty or a nuisance and treat their pēpi as such will think of haututū as a very negative term.

It’s worthwhile helping parents to see haututū in a positive light.

  • Talk about the traditional story of Māui with whānau. Some people might have called Māui haututū.
  • Would he have achieved these great feats without a lot of curiosity, creativity and confidence?

Ask whānau to think of some people whose achievements you admire.

  • What is it about them that makes you feel this way?
  • Do you think they would have ever been described as ‘haututū?’

How does this topic relate to Tākai resources?

Baby wall frieze – Kōrerotia mai mō taku whakahirahira – Tell me I'm wonderful

Six things children need – Te tūāpapa mō te tika me te hē – Limits and boundaries