The Best (and Most Surprising) Parenting Tips from Around the World
Whether your mommy style is more hands-off hippie, high-powered helicopter or somewhere in between, we’re betting you can learn a thing or two from these delightfully refreshing parenting practices from around the globe.
Italy: Don’t Indulge Tantrums
No coddling for bad behavior, say our Italian friends. When kids are being little terrors, Italians tend to let them play it out, exhaust themselves and learn that this type of behavior does not help them get their way in the end.
Polynesia: Older Kids Are the Best Babysitters
In some of the Polynesian islands, it’s commonly accepted that once a baby can walk, they’re left to the charges of older brothers, sisters and pals in the community. This encouragement to keep up with the big kids teaches self-sufficiency at an early age…and fosters a responsible mind-set for older sibs, too.
France: Speak to Your Child Like An Adult
Baby talk is for babies, people. Rather than cooing and soaring into helium balloon territory, French parents speak in their normal voices to their babes and young ones. (The thinking is that this encourages maturity and shows respect.)
India: Young Children Shouldn’t Sleep Alone
India thinks it’s weird that little Tommy has his own room, let alone his own racecar bed. With space at a premium, Indian parents are proponents of family sleeping arrangements (regardless of class or geography), and children typically dorm with their parents or siblings until at least age six.
Denmark: Fresh Air Is Essential For Good Health
The hygge-loving, cold-weather-dwelling Danish are all about frisk luft (fresh air). Even in near sub-zero temperatures, Danish kids get up to an hour of outdoor playtime daily. And babies? They’re often left outside sleeping in their strollers while parents run errands or eat meals indoors. Sound crazy? It shouldn’t—it’s the second safest country in the world after all.
Japan: Give Them Independence Early
The country’s extremely low crime rate has created a culture wherein Japanese kids are encouraged to go off on their own at a young age and learn how to navigate like a little boss baby. It’s not uncommon to find five-year-olds riding the subway, hopping on a bus and putzing around town solo. Scary. But cute.
Australia: No Hat, No Play
With a supremely hot and arid climate, proper sun protection is a huge part of responsible parenting. Protective sun gear is even a strict part of Australian school uniforms, and if you don’t have a sun hat on (to prevent heat rash and heat stroke), you can’t go outdoors and play with your pals. (We can’t even get sunscreen on our little ones without a meltdown).
Korea: Snack Time Is Unnecessary
Whereas American mommies run around with baggies of Pirates Booty and halved grapes, Korean kids are taught the value of waiting for your next meal to eat. Oh, and there are no kid meals or menus—babies eat bibimbap with mom and dad, thank you very much.
Kenya: It Takes A Village
In Kenya’s tight-knit communities, one person’s child is viewed as everyone’s child, and kids refer to neighbors as auntie or uncle (even if they have no blood relation). This means that when any adult sees a child in harm’s way, they feel obligated to help out, and will readily do so without the blessing of the parent. Gotta love a second (and third, and fourth…) set of eyes on the buggers.
England: Bragging Is In Bad Taste
Your endless mommy-and-me selfies and Facebook boasting about how many words your little one already knows are decidedly tacky in English culture. Modesty and mild self-deprecation are the modus operandi for British parents...and this behavior trickles down to the kids too, teaching them that bragging is never polite.
Argentina: Bedtime Is Not the Be All, End All
Rushing home to get the kids in bed by 8 p.m.? No way. Kids in Argentina go to the same parties and social gatherings as their parents, and as a result they often stay up as late and sleep in the next morning. And guess what? They turn out just fine.
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