According to UNICEF, Dutch children are among the happiest and most relaxed in the world. And this is understandable, because an incredibly loyal and tolerant society, excellent ecology and safe environment should contribute to this. Dutch children do not overdo their studies, but their IQ is at a high level. Parents do not torture them with discipline and do not shout, but at the same time, Dutch children are quite disciplined and obedient. Education is incredibly open: parents and schools do not hide anything from children and answer all questions. But at the same time … the rate of unwanted teenage pregnancies, as well as related problems, is incredibly low. What is the secret of Dutch parenting? We have read the incredibly entertaining Dutch Children by Reena Mae Acosta and Michelle Hutchinson and are sharing some of the secrets and observations with you.
Doe maar gewon
This is an old Dutch proverb that means “Being normal is already quite crazy.” The Dutch know that life is far from ideal. Therefore, you should not correspond to some mythical attitudes. The Dutch value authenticity and artlessness. The Dutch do not strive to be ideal parents. They want to be “good enough.”
Do not put pressure on children!
The fundamental principle of Dutch education is not to put pressure on children. The priority is the child’s desire and the teacher’s opinion, not parental ambitions. What does it mean? For example, you want your child to become a piano master at the age of 4. And in every way you push it into all possible sections and circles. What will the teacher tell you? It is not accepted here. Don’t push the kid! Everything has its time. Let him be a child and do not steal his childhood. And trust us teachers. We know better about how a child can reveal his talent. Parents can only calm down and watch.
Pregnancy and childbirth
It is customary in Holland to give birth at home. In the presence of a midwife. And without anesthesia. Because here pregnancy and childbirth is considered a natural state of a woman, and not a medical problem. For all these “disadvantages”, Holland is the sixth country on the list of the best countries to give birth. Great Britain and the United States are not even in the top ten. Also in Holland, Caesarean section is rarely used. Only in case of extreme indications. 9 out of 10 women here give birth naturally.
We will help you!
Each woman in labor, regardless of income and standard of living, is assigned an assistant midwife for 10-14 days. She supports the new mom, tells her all about caring for the baby, helps to identify and prevent the symptoms of postpartum depression in mom, and also helps to do most of the housework. The state pays for the help of a midwife!
Knowledge is not the most important thing yet
For Dutch parents, the main thing is not to load the child with knowledge as early as possible. The main thing is safety, a sense of peace, proper nutrition and sleep. Moreover, in matters of sleep, the Dutch are extremely uncompromising. The child must sleep on his own and let his parents sleep. It is not without reason that the Dutch are considered the biggest sleepyheads – they sleep on average more than the rest of the world’s population – 8 hours 12 minutes.
Learn without A’s
In the elementary grades, there are practically no familiar grades. There are only report cards that assess the level of emotional and social development of a child according to various indicators. There is no comparison with classmates and the rating of students either. There are no good or bad schools either. Most educational institutions are public, free, and all equally good. The Dutch believe that children who are fixated on grades and exam results miss out on more important things: deep knowledge of the subject and broadening their horizons.
We love school
In a 2015 OECD survey, Dutch children had one of the lowest levels of stress from school. The kids here really love school and the school loves them.
In Holland, children are welcome everywhere
Many restaurants, cafes and other establishments are equipped with children’s rooms. And the kids are pretty noisy here. The Dutch encourage spontaneity in children. They believe it is more important to be able to play and imagine than to be quiet and obedient.
Five basic principles of positive parenting
General advice on discipline
Formulate the rules and make sure they match the capabilities of the child. If the child breaks them, do not punish, but try to explain the rules again.
Knowledge of the Rules of the Road for the little ones
In the last grades of primary school, children take exams on their knowledge of traffic rules. In Holland, almost all children travel to school on their own by bike. Therefore, it is so important to know the Rules of the Road already at such a small age.
Let the kids get bored
It is important for children to be bored. Parents should not constantly entertain the child. Having reckoned to his heart’s content, he himself will find something to do with himself. Boredom develops creative thinking and ingenuity.
Cultivate Thrift in Children
Thrift is an important aspect of Dutch culture. Everyone considers it his duty to boast how, where and how much he managed to save so that others will admire. However, the Dutch are not stingy at all. More than any country in the world donates to charity here, and a third of the country’s population works as volunteers.
All themes are no secret
But what about intimate topics, questions about which children arise as they grow up? The Dutch are of the opinion that one should speak frankly with children, not hide anything from them and not have forbidden topics for conversations with them. The main idea is to answer all questions simply and honestly. Where healthy interest is encouraged, children will decide for themselves how much and to what extent they need to know. Research shows that cultivated taboos lead to unhealthy fixations and a forbidden fruit complex. Maybe the fewer the rules, the less you want to break them?
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