7 parenting practices from around the world

They say being a parent is the hardest job there is. Here’s what we can learn from mums and dads in different countries.

Press Association
Last updated: 11 May 2018 - 11.23am

We’re inspired by countries around the world for everything from what to cook when friends come over, to the clothes we buy and where to book our next holiday, so why not for tips on how to parent?

Although how you bring up your kids is inextricably linked to your culture, family and environment, most cultures and their childrearing technqiues have a lot of wisdom to them.

[Read more: Traditional baby names on trend]

Courtesy of French mamans and Argentinian madres, Danish fars and Japanese otousans, we’ve teamed up with Cashnetusa to share some international parenting tips you could try out at home with your own little ones.

1. France

You’ll hear no goo goo ga ga nonsense from our chic Gallic cousins. In France, parents speak to their children as they would speak to an adult. It’s thought that doing so encourages the development of coherent speech.

A mother and daughter high five (Thinkstock/PA)
The French talk to their children like grown-ups (Thinkstock/PA)

2. Argentina

With so much incredible steak and delicious red wine to linger over, late nights in Argentina come so easily. But children aren’t packed off to bed when the adults crack open that second bottle of Malbec. Parents believe that letting kids stay up with them helps develop the youngsters’ social skills.

3. Polynesian Islands

It takes a village to raise a child goes the old proverb, which perfectly matches Maori culture, where parental responsibility extends far beyond just the mother and father. Siblings – even when they are young children themselves – are expected to help look after their little brothers and sisters. The result is they grow up learning parenting skills and develop strong family ties.

[Read more: 5 tips for mums’ positive mental health]

4. Japan

“I’ll go…” It’s a familiar image – the mum or dad woken from deep slumber by the cries of their newborn coming from the baby monitor. In Japan, though, putting babies to sleep in a separate room is unheard of. In fact, parents will often share a bed with their children, which they believe encourages family bonding and a sense of stability.

5. Denmark

In Denmark, if you spot an “abandoned” child reclining outside a shop, cafe or in the garden in its pram, fret not. The Danish are advocates of the health-giving properties of fresh air (frisk luft).

A baby in a pram in a park (Thinkstock/PA)
Danes believe babies benefit from lots of fresh air (Thinkstock/PA)

6. Kenya

Kisii mothers intentionally avoid making eye contact with their crying or fussy infants. Kisii culture holds that the gaze bestows power and encourages children to be needy and attention-seeking.

7. Germany

If you’re concerned that children’s play is becoming increasingly sanitized – that climbing trees and getting grubby knees are being skipped in favour of iPad time – Germany might be the country for you. Nursery-age children are packed off on overnight camping trips, called kitafahrten, without their parents – but with supervision from other adults – to develop confidence and a sense of care towards others.