Baby Care Tips and Trends From Around the Globe

Argentine parents let their kids stay up until all hours; Japanese parents let 7-year-olds ride the subway by themselves; Danish parents leave their kids sleeping in a stroller on the curb while they go inside to shop or eat. ~npr

Bringing up baby takes different forms in different cultures. For the sake of being well-rounded, let’s round up some parenting styles and principles from all over the globe…

First up is the Scandinavian Country of Norway. Is There Only One Approach?

In Norway, childhood is very institutionalized. When a child turns one, he or she starts going to Barnehage (Norwegian for “children’s garden”), which is basically state-subsidized daycare. Parents pay a few hundred dollars a month and their kids are taken care of from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Toddlers spend a ton of time outside at Barnehage, even in extremely cold temperatures. It’s not uncommon to see kids bundled up outside during a Scandinavian winter, taking a nap in their strollers.

Even with the obvious benefits provided by the government in Norway, some parents complain about the lack of creativity in people’s approaches to parenting. One American mother adjusting to raising kids in Norway wrote,

“There’s a sense that there’s just one right way to do things. And everyone does it that way. In America there are different parenting styles — co-sleeping, attachment parenting, etc. Here there is just one way, more or less: all kids go to bed at 7, all attend the same style of preschool, all wear boots, all eat the same lunch … that’s the Norwegian way.” ~Global Post

Eating Communally, South Korea

In countries around the world with robust food cultures, including South Korea, kids don’t get separate meals from adults. They’re expected to wait to eat as a whole family and taught to be able to eat everything on the table. Eating communally with everyone eating (and enjoying) the same dishes, encourages kids to eat a wide variety of healthy food.

Sweden, Where Dads Take Leave Too

Sweden was one of the first countries in the world to offer paternity leave for fathers when their wee ones are born. Two months of 13 months paid time off for parents must go to dads or they lose that time and money. As you can imagine, most guys take it. ~Huffington Post

Potty Training, Low Whistle Used in China

In China they start toilet training babies in the first few weeks of their lives.

They use a low whistle or similar sound and hold the baby over the potty or sink or anywhere they can when they judge infant is ready to go.

This conditions the baby to go only when they hear this sound.

Finland and Education

In Finland, school starts at the age of seven, when they believe children are ready to learn. Once they are there they’re encouraged to learn through play and are often outside playing all day.

There’s no formalized testing. Importance is placed on non-academic subjects like music and art, with limited homework given.

Napping in Argentina

Especially for celebrations like weddings or holidays, Hopgood found that children in Argentina often stay up far later than their American counterparts would ever be allowed to. Isn’t this breaking the rules all parents are told, to get kids to bed early and consistently? Hopgood was told by Richard Ferber, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, that “as long as they’re getting enough sleep, it doesn’t make too much difference.” Constantly napping isn’t a good thing, but children can occasionally have later nights. Often in Argentina, younger children will sleep in much later in the morning than toddlers in the United States who are often calling for their parents at 5 a.m. ~CSMonitor 

Varying Tastes in France

French children, Woods observes, don’t just eat well, they also develop a “positive, adventurous and healthy overall attitude to food at a very early age”.

They do this through “food diversification”, where parents introduce a different vegetable to their child every four days as they wean them.

The idea is to expose them to as many flavors as possible before the age of two, when it becomes more common for them to be reticent about trying new foods.

Woods was so inspired by the French foodie way of weaning, he’s just given trout and potatoes to his baby daughter Nancy, who ate it happily, he reports.

“The French give a broad experience of flavours to babies when they’re weaned, and don’t bother about textures so much – they’ll puree everything to within an inch of its life, and deal with textures when kids are older,” he explains. ~Belfast Telegraph

It seems, all the differences aside, that parents around the globe seek to love their children unconditionally no matter the methods.

Inspired by the illuminating findings of an international study conducted by Fisher-Price, which asked more than 3,500 new and expectant mothers in seven countries about their hopes for their children’s futures, we partnered with the early childhood development company to ask moms around the world one question: “What is most important to you as a parent and why?” Despite their very diverse backgrounds, the mothers’ responses* repeatedly touched on a common theme: they all shared an unconditional love for their kids.

Read More via Huffington Post: Mothers From Around The Globe Tell Us What is Most Important To Them

Any new methods listed that you are willing to try?

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