The SKIP baby frieze picture ‘Teach me about my family’ reminds us to talk to our children about our families, where we belong and where we come from.
Ask the whānau:
- Does this picture make you think of anything that you’re doing with your child now?
- What do you want your toddler to know about their wider whānau?
- How could you help make that happen?
Some ideas to share might include:
- Tell little stories about your own childhood, your parents and ancestors, and the places they lived.
- Show photos of family and talk about who’s in the photos.
- Have photos or paintings of special places and people up on the walls around the house — for example, whänau marae, maunga, or other pictures of ‘homeland’ people and places.
- Introduce baby to family members — in person if you can, but you could also use technology like Skype (video conferencing).
In the SKIP Whakatipu booklet Te Pihinga 3 (page 7) it says, ‘Whānau are often given special taonga [treasures] for their children.’
Parents can use taonga as a way to link to and talk about the wider whānau. Sometimes things are passed on from grandparents, or there’s a special toy or book, or maybe a christening cup or piece of jewellery.
- Are there any special things that have been passed down or gifted within your whänau?
- Do you or your baby have anything like that?
Whānau can also sing songs to their children, and tell them stories, fairy tales or legends that come from their own cultural backgrounds. Even as toddlers, they’ll love to hear the language whānau use.
In Te Pihinga 3 (page 28) there’s an example of the legend of ‘Te Ika-a-Māui’ to show whānau. Parents who tell family stories and enjoy family rituals together are helping their child learn ways to understand memories.
Memories — both the positive and the negative ones — contribute to our sense of self and where we belong.
- What memories do you have of your childhood that you would share with your toddler?
- What memories do you think your child will be forming?
When whānau talk with children about things that are important to their family, they’re encouraging them to listen. Over time they can share more and more as childrens’ understanding increases.
If stories have been repeated, as they get older they’ll ask questions or say, ‘Tell me the story about Nanny and the bull’.
Start early with simple little stories that reinforce their sense of cultural identity and connectedness to other whānau members who perhaps aren’t present in their everyday life.
How does this relate to the SKIP resources?
Six things children need - Te kōrero me te whakarongo - Talking and listening