While some days, you may feel like you’ve got it all figured out, you just might reconsider your game plan after learning how parenting varies in different cultures. From speaking to your kids like adults, to relaxing that strict 7:30 bedtime, there’s a lot American moms and dads can learn from parents around the world! Sharing the same meal. In the land of kids’ menus and Happy Meals, it might be surprising to hear that in some other countries, kids just eat whatever their family eats.
No chicken nuggets, cereal, or macaroni and cheese while mom eats her veggies. According to the parenting site momme, many cultures around the world skip the kids’ menu entirely. In South Korea, kids learn to eat some of everything that’s placed on the table. And that likely includes foods that are fermented or pickled, grains, proteins, and whatever else makes up the meal that day.
And according to Parenting Magazine, Egyptian, Italian, and Argentinian parents emphasize regular family mealtimes. It might not seem like a big deal, but kids will build and strengthen important familial relationships that will last the rest of their lives. Potty training early According to The Mother Company, in parts of China and India, babies as young as six months start potty training, using special pants that split at the crotch. Babies also crawl or run around without pants or diapers, and “going” right on the sidewalk is no big deal. This method results in many of these kids being potty trained much sooner than their American counterparts.
Additionally, the Journal of Pediatric Urology reports that in Vietnam, some babies are taught to pee when their parents whistle. While this may sound odd to American parents, Vietnamese babies are often potty trained by the time they’re nine months old. Ditching the baby talk. Baby talk is sometimes controversial in the United States. Some parents argue that it slows babies’ language development while others say that it’s no big deal. According to women’s lifestyle in France, adults speak to young children just like they would to anyone else, as a sign of respect.
Teaching them independence Wendy Mogel, clinical psychologist and author of The Blessing of a B Minus, explains that according to Jewish teachings, parents must teach their children to swim. The reasoning for this? To teach your kids the skills and independence required to grow up and thrive as successful adults. And according to Rodale’s Organic Life, in Germany, kids three-and-a-half years of age and older spend three nights at a rural, overnight camp each Spring There, they learn to be more independent and have fun away from their parents Letting them cry. It can be difficult not to give in to your screaming toddler’s demands. Italian parents don’t indulge bad behavior.
If their kids are throwing a tantrum, they let them do so freely, in an effort to show that screaming and crying isn’t the way to get what they want. Giving them chores According to The Mother Company, even the youngest Mayans in Central America are given household or farm-based tasks from an early age. This helps them develop a strong work ethic, lets them own their work and responsibilities, and contributes to the family. Kids are expected to work and assist with family finances from a young age, so the experience with chores and other responsibilities is invaluable. Getting some fresh air In Scandinavian countries, kids spend time outside every single day.
In Denmark, Finland, and Norway, it’s not uncommon to see babies in strollers lined up outside of shops and restaurants, even when it’s really cold, while caregivers and family members eat or shop indoors. The BBC reports that these parents believe the practice keeps their little ones healthy Cuddling up. Many moms know the benefits of snuggling their babies. Moms give their babies gentle massages. They also carry their babies against their own bodies, and co-sleep with younger children — to facilitate a strong mother-child bond.
Avoiding eye contact Stick with us for this one According to Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, the Gusii people who live in Kenya avoid looking babies in the eye because eye contact conveys power. In a post for Empowering Parents, social worker James Lehman writes that parents should be the rulers of the roost, not their children. Bedtime anytime according to Rodale’s Organic Life, Spanish kids often don’t go to bed until 10 at night Between afternoon or evening siestas, and plenty of family time built into the early evening hours, it makes sense that bedtime is typically later.
While researchers aren’t sure that the late-night bedtimes are beneficial for the kids, it doesn’t look like parents will start putting their kids to bed before family time Global inspiration While you might not agree with every different parenting style, Americans just might discover something new about raising kids from other cultures After all, child-rearing takes a village But who’s to say what size your village should be?