5 Dutch Parenting Tips For Americans


Plenty of good things have been said about Dutch parenting and it’s inevitable for parents around the globe to appreciate and adopt this wholesome approach. According to Forbes, the Netherlands is ranked as the 6th happiest country in the world. Given that tremendous attainment, we can’t deny that good parenting has indeed played an essential role in making Dutch folks merrier than ever. So what do you think is the major foundation of this parenting approach?

As stated in an article published by A Mother Far From Home, Dutch parenting is strongly anchored on these three pillars: rust (rest), reinheid (cleanliness), and regelmaat (routine). These three foundations have paved the way for the proliferation of numerous child-rearing tips, hence making Dutch kids be among the most disciplined and cheerful children in the globe. Consequently, even parents outside the Netherlands are able and willing to train their kids the Dutch way.

Wanting to shift to another parenting style this year and onward? Here are 5 major Dutch parenting tips Americans and others might want to adopt.

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5 Train Your Children To Sleep Early

Dutch Parenting: a baby girl sleeping
Credits: Pixabay

Going to bed early and getting enough sleep is a staple regulation in every Dutch home. It is customary in the Netherlands that children are aptly equipped with educational and fun household activities during daytime in order for them to have a restful sleep at night. As stated by Your Modern Family, Dutch parents really place a great emphasis on proper rest and relaxation that they put their well-loved children to bed in as early as 7:00 in the evening. Sounds awesome, right?

If your kids are not getting enough sleep due to some unnecessary activities you allow them to do at night, then it’s about time to change that. As stressed out by Johns Hopkins All Children Hospital, children who regularly acquire a sufficient amount of sleep have enhanced attention, memory, learning, behavior, and overall mental and physical health. Not getting adequate sleep may possibly lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and even depression. For sure, you wouldn’t want the latter to happen to your children, would you?

In preparing your children for this change, you have to be authoritative, not authoritarian. Make your good intentions known and as much as possible, make them understand why you’re doing such a thing. Be gentle yet assertive in instructing them to keep their hands off their gadgets when the clock strikes at 7:00 PM. This way, they won’t have the impression of you being a killjoy; instead, they will honor and respect your authority as a parent, hence, obedience will automatically follow.

4 Encourage Them To Embrace Simplicity

Dutch Parenting: a happy family camping
Credits: Pixabay

In an article published by The Telegraph, Acosta and Hutchison wrote that simplicity is a vital norm in the Netherlands; families often prefer simple, cost-efficient activities and they always stick to their fundamental parenting approach. They also added that a typical recreation for Dutch kids doesn’t happen in front of a screen; rather, it comes with playing outdoors with friends and family. Dutch parents always see to it that they’re molding their children to be zestful and diligent, not passive and gadget-addicted.

Since outdoor play is highly-essential in developing your kids’ physical, social, and mental capacities, it’s indeed a great idea to encourage them to go and play outdoors rather than spend all their time on video games, TV shows, and shopping sprees. You can bring them to the park every Friday afternoon and persuade them to get to know other kids there and play.

Also, you could take them to the country town during weekends and indulge them in simple yet interesting activities like camping, fishing, ziplining, and many others. There are countless activities they could explore out there and all you need to do is convince them to get out of their comfort zones and savor the perks of outdoor adventure.

3 Never Underestimate The Power of Dinner Bonding

Dutch Parenting: a happy family having dinner
Credits: Unsplash

One of the highlights of Dutch parenting is dinner bonding. According to Cultural Atlas, dinner is deemed as the most important meal among Dutch folks and they have it on or before 6:00 PM. Unlike several parents outside the Netherlands, “working dinner” is basically not popular among Dutch people. As much as possible, they strive not to overwork so that they could join their whole family for dinner and bond with their kids.

Busy days and hectic schedules are inescapable, but as much as you can, make it a duty to join your kids for dinner. According to a study highlighted by The Atlantic, children who spend dinner with their parents five to seven days a week tend to eat healthier, exhibit better academic performance, are less likely involved in drugs and alcohol and are closer with their parents. Getting excited to follow this tip? You better think now of delectable dinner dish ideas that you could apply later.

2 Teach Them How To Bike

Dutch Parenting: kids biking
Credits: Pixabay

As applied by CNBC, Dutch people are not big on cars; they are more into all-weather biking where children are compelled to bike in different places and under different weather conditions. Dutch parents believe that allowing their children to bike either under the tingling heat of the sun or the outpouring of the rain can yield the spirit of joy and resilience in them, hence making them more mature and ready for what the future holds.

While your kids are still young, you may want to teach them how to bike. Based on an article published by Better Health Channell, biking has been found to increase cardiovascular fitness and muscle flexibility, strengthen bones, decrease stress and body fat levels, and reduce anxiety and depression. There are still a lot of benefits that biking can offer to your children and you’ll gradually reap all of those as you start mentoring them as soon as possible.

1 Work Part-Time, If Possible

Dutch Parenting: mom working while tending to the baby
Credits: Unsplash

As stated in an article published by TechRepublic, the Netherlands has a national employment average of 76% and a total of 29-hour workweeks; hence, it is considered as a haven for Dutch part-timers and freelancers. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with working full-time, Dutch parents still find it ideal to work in less than 8 hours a day all while getting to spend enough time for their kids. If part-time opportunities arise in your homeland, why not grab it and rear your children the Dutch way?

As posted by The Balance Careers, moms can hunt for part-time jobs that are flexible with their family schedules so they don’t have to worry about seeking child care or missing football games and ballet recitals. That sounds like an amazing and practical arrangement, isn’t it? You better think about it now and decide what’s best for your kids.

READ NEXT: Why Moms Find Dads So Attractive When He’s Parenting

Sources: The Balance Careers, TechRepublic, Better Health Channel, CNBC, The Atlantic, Cultural Atlas, The Telegraph, Johns Hopkins All Children Hospital, Your Modern Family, A Mother Far From Home, Forbes

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