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Understanding how to manage emotions and value children's uniqueness.


Tiaki – Managing behaviour

As children grow, they go through phases of development that cause them and their parents stress. These times can be challenging for everyone. Understanding their uniqueness, rather than comparing them with other children, is most important in guiding their behaviour.

Taumauri – Mana tangata

The underlying philosophy of this wānanga is based on the Āhuru Mōwai principle ‘mana tangata’. This means encouraging whānau to create an environment where their children are continuously affirmed for who they are, their unique personalities, talents and characteristics.

Manaaki and tohutohu

Use the terms manaaki (caring) and tohutohu (guidance), and embrace and uphold them in this wānanga.


Whakatuwhera, whakatau, mihimihi

Welcome whānau as they arrive, and offer them a cup of tea and refreshments. Provide a parent-and-child–friendly venue, so whānau and tamariki feel comfortable.

Open with a karakia and a waiata – your own, or one of the ones provided.

Introduce the session

Give an overview of the session. Emphasise that this hui will centre on the importance of:

  • issues linked to normal development
  • curiosity
  • positive discipline
  • patience
  • routine
  • boundaries.

Discuss behaviour and emotions

Give a short presentation about managing emotions, frustration and discipline.

  • Emphasise that children need to learn about their behaviour before they can control it.
  • The natural curiosity of children, regardless of their age, stems from their brain development and its ‘windows of opportunity’ for optimum learning. This is driving their need to explore and experiment with all of their senses.

Ask whānau to share what they’ve noticed about their pēpi that reflects pēpi’s own sense of becoming a separate person from their parents.

You could ask the whānau: Does pēpi also do things and have expressions that remind you of someone in your whānau?

Refer to the Tākai Ngā Tohu Whānau poster.

  • Ask whānau to discuss how they manage behaviour that upsets them, and what strategies they can share with each other.
  • Ask whānau to reflect on their own support networks – even the best parents can do with a helping hand. Does the whānau have help from other whānau members, support services or anyone else?

Share pūrākau

Tell pūrākau that have supportive messages, for example:

  • Tūmatauenga – responsibility, courage
  • Tāwhiri-mātea – conflict, change
  • Tangaroa – healing, water, fluid
  • Tāne-mahuta – leadership, thinker, leader, strategist
  • Rongo-mā-Tāne – peace, skills
  • Haumia-tiketike – protector, wild food, digestive
  • Rūaumoko – youngest, demanding

Encourage whānau to tell stories, and to encourage their children to listen. Pēpi is starting to understand that like the characters in the stories, they too have their own mana.

Remind whānau to continue using ‘Ngā tohutohu i te reo Māori’ when instructing pēpi – for example, ‘kia tūpato’, ‘āe’, ‘kāore’ and ‘taihoa’.


Explain the following whakataukī, and encourage whānau to have a 2-minute discussion about its meaning.

Hei mua tātou, puritia te tika.

Let us go forward maintaining all that is right and proper.


Help whānau prepare a problem-solving strategy for managing pēpi’s behaviour when things get stressful. Use these Tākai resources:

  • Ngā tohu whānau poster
  • Staying calm with kids booklet
  • The tricky bits

As pēpi grows, suggest that whānau make a commitment to review their behaviour management strategies every 3 weeks or less.


Bring everyone together for closing, and offer an opportunity for whānau to share their experiences of the day. Reflect on the kaupapa of this hui ‘Tōku mana motuhake’. Close with a karakia and a waiata – your own, or one of the ones provided.


Tākai resources

Staying calm with kids booklet [PDF, 6.9 MB]

The tricky bits booklet [PDF, 9.3 MB]

Related articles

Hikitia – About this programme(external link)

Whakanuia – celebration

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Haututū 19 to 24 months

Tamaiti haututū 7 to 12 months

Whakamarama (glossary)