Becoming a parent can make you really tune in to the way other people are raising their kids. With so many types of parenting, and so many cultures here in the United States, it seems there are a million different attitudes and pieces of advice floating around out there.
Two great books we read recently really opened our eyes to how the rest of the world raises their children. Here are our favorite interesting tidbits from How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm and Parenting Without Borders, which we highly recommend as required reading for any parent or parent-to-be.
-In Polynesia, children play with one another in groups, often without parental supervision. Take that, helicopter parents!
-In Africa, where babies have been statistically shown to stand and walk earlier than in North America, babies and toddlers are always carried, never placed in strollers.
– Toddlers in pre-school in France are fed four-course lunches, complete with a table set with a tablecloth, napkins, silverware and a cheese course. Something to think about the next time you’re packing a lunch box.
-Children growing up in the Yucatan are given chores and tasks as early as two or three, helping on a farm or making tortillas with their parents. It’s thought that these jobs teach them to be motivated workers from an early age.
-Finnish teachers show their students that mistakes are the fastest way to information–not something to be afraid of. What a way to take all the anxiety out of education, no?
-Japanese parents try to instill a sense of nobinobi–of being at ease and carefree–in their children, and have a relaxed attitude about age-appropriate expectations and behavior. Something to remember the next time your kid has a meltdown in a restaurant!
For more enlightening insight from parents around the world, check out Cup of Jo’s newly launched Motherhood Around the World series.