Understanding stress and how to manage it.


Ngā taumaha – Managing stress

There are times during natural child development that can be stressful for pēpi and their whānau. A settled world for pēpi depends on how their whānau deal or cope with issues and stress.

Stress can never be totally prevented, but it can be managed so it doesn’t become overwhelming. (See Tākai The World of Under-fives, pages 20-21).

Taumauri – Mana tangata

The underlying philosophy of this is based on the principle ‘ ’ – children experience an environment where they are continuously affirmed for who they are, their unique personalities, talents and characteristics.

Tikanga and rongoā

Learn and use the words and to embrace the kaupapa of this wānanga.


, , mihimihi

Welcome whānau as they arrive, encourage whānau to network with each other and catch up on how things have been for them and their pēpi.

Have drinks, refreshments and comfortable seating arranged for the whānau. Provide a parent-and-child–friendly venue.

Open with a karakia and a waiata, your own or see the ones provided.

Introduce the session

Give an overview. Emphasise that this hui will centre on:

  • the potential for stress to occur
  • adjusting and adapting to stressful events
  • changing events so they are less stressful
  • conflict resolution
  • helping and teaching pēpi to cope.

Explore what causes us stress

Start the presentation by asking whānau to think about the natural development of their pēpi. What events might cause stress for them all, including pēpi, as pēpi passes through the different development phases? For example:

  • 4 months – teething
  • 24 months – starting early childhood education, or adjusting to a new pēpi in the whānau.

Talk and share experiences about how whānau have managed during times when pēpi was stressed.

Create two columns on a whiteboard or chart paper. Call the first column ‘Stressors’ and the second ‘Solutions’. Brainstorm things that stress whānau, and add them to column one.

Then brainstorm solutions that could help to manage the stress, and add them to column two. Then draw lines connecting the issues with possible solutions.

can help to comfort and soothe adults as well as pēpi. Watch the Tākai video ‘Whānau talk about mirimiri (massage)’ on YouTube. Invite feedback and summarise the key points shared.


Explain this and encourage whānau to have a 2-minute discussion about its meaning:


Tohea i te tohe i te kai.

Persistence and perseverance.


Invite an expert to show whānau safe baby massage. Ensure the room is suitable and warm, and that pēpi has a clean mat or blanket to lie on.

Have baby massage posters and information available for whānau to take home as well.


Bring everyone together for closing, and invite whānau to share their experience of the day. Reflect on ‘Whakatau i ahau’. Close with a karakia and a waiata, your own or see the ones provided.