One of the most beautiful parts of our world is the variety of different cultures we have. Our globe is so vast that no one culture is the same. From different languages to contrasting meals to opposing upbringings — our world is filled with so much to learn. Knowing this much, it's obvious that parents of different cultures raise their children and families differently than the next. None is better than the other either — however, we can all learn from each other.
Growing up in the States, my friends and I had similar upbringings regardless of the state we lived in. Our parents taught us to do our homework, go to bed early, and to try out for sports to see which one we liked best. But that's not the case for other cultures. While most parents in the States keep their kids close when venturing out for errands and whatnot, countries like Norway leave their child in their stroller out front; to give the adults some time to themselves. Similarly, children in Spain tend to stay up later to spend more time socializing, unlike many of the children growing up in North America, who are told to get a full eight hours of sleep. And that's just the half of it; below are 20 different parenting routines from around the globe.
20 Bedtime For Children In Spain Is Later The Better
Now, I don't know about you, but if I stayed up later than 9 pm, my mom would panic, thinking I wouldn't have had enough hours of rest to be refreshed for the following morning. I don't know who created that rule (if that's what you wanna call it), but the families in Spain must laugh at us.
According to Fatherly, Dr. Harkness (a parenting culture professor at the University of Connecticut) found that "kids in those countries routinely go to bed after 10:00 p.m. The reason? Families there are more focused on the social aspects of child development."
19 Babies In Switzerland Are Placed In Hammocks
It's no surprise that a newborn baby is going to have a tough time adjusting to life outside of the womb. Among the different smells, noises, and general growing — there's a big learning curve for these sweet babies. That's why hospitals in Switzerland try to make the after-birth experience as close to home as possible. Fatherly notes, "Newborns in Swiss hospitals are placed in hammocks called Hängematten that imitate the soothing rocking, bouncing, and swaying they’d grown accustomed to over nine months in the womb."
18 Parents In Denmark Leave The Strollers Outside As They Dine
While there are many things us North Americans can learn and adapt to from different cultures on this list, this is one lifestyle choice that I don't think many parents would be picking up on — mainly because we don't know who we can trust. Very Well Family explains how "Parents in Denmark often park strollers on the sidewalk and leave their baby to sleep outside while they enjoy a meal at a restaurant." This means that while the grownups go inside to enjoy a quick lunch, they leave their baby in its stroller outside the window for some much needed personal time.
17 More Breaks = Better Learning In Finland
One thing that changes dramatically depending on the country is education. While the States school system has three months off for summer vacation, there are other forms of breaks we could be doing to make sure our kids are refreshed and open to learning. A Very Well Family states "In Finland, elementary-aged school kids take a 15-minute break every 45 minutes." Now, I don't know about you, but a 15-minute break every 45 minutes sounds exactly what the doctor ordered.
16 Bulgarian Maternity Pay Is 90% Of Regular Pay
A big debate among companies in different countries is how much time and money maternity leave should provide for both parents. Usually, the woman gets more time off, considering they just gave birth, but the father figure also gets some time off as well. One of the issues with maternity leave is how much of their normal paycheck the mother and father get for their time off, but that's one thing the people of Bulgaria don't really have to worry about.
Very Well Family says, "Mothers are entitled to 90 percent of their regular pay before and after the birth of their child. And after six months, the duration of the maternity leave can be transferred to the child’s father."
15 Vietnamese Babies Are Potty-Trained At Nine Months
Depending on the situation, child, and country, kids start potty-training at different times. Not every child is the same, meaning not every child is going to pick it up as easily as others do. While it's normal for parents here to potty train their children anywhere from 18-24 months (according to Pull-Ups), parents in Vietnam tend to differ. They begin potty-training their child around nine months — and get this, it works.
NPR notes, "Parents start by noticing when their baby starts peeing and making a little whistle sound. Soon enough, the baby starts to associate the whistle with peeing and voila!"
14 No Such Thing As Private Bedrooms In Afghanistan
One of the most interesting things about traveling often is seeing how other countries and cultures live. What may seem like unthinkable living standards to some people, may be amazing to others. It's important not to judge and to keep an open mind about where people are raised and where they're from. The people of Afghanistan, for example, don't have as many rooms in their home as us Americans. Fatherly states "In Afghanistan, in particular, there’s no such thing as a dedicated bedroom. Rooms throughout the house serve multiple purposes, so mattresses and blankets are folded and put aside each morning to make space in those rooms for daytime use."
13 Kisii (Kenya) Parents Avoid Looking Their Babies In The Eye
NPR explains how mothers in Kenya bring their babies everywhere with them, strapped to their chest. But that does not mean that these mommas are coddlers. In fact, they're far from it. Traditionally, they don't even look in their baby's eyes "Eye contact is an act bestowed with a lot of power. It's like saying, 'You're in charge,' which isn't the message parents want to send their kids. Researchers say Kisii kids are less attention-seeking as a result." So if there are any parents out there who wanna set an example as the head of the household, this is definitely a practicing act.
12 Sleeping Outside Has Its Benefits In Finland, Sweden, & Norway
As soon as it gets chilly in North America, parents everywhere are telling their kids to bundle up in fear of catching the flu. Heck, there are some parents who refuse to even leave the home in fear of someone in their family getting sick. But that's not how the people of Norway, Finland, and Sweden role. Very Well Family states, "Parents in Norway, Sweden, and Finland believe that sleeping outside offers health benefits." This could mean in their stroller while the parents go shopping in a store or outside their home in a carrier. In these neighboring countries, sleeping in the cold is beneficial.
11 Egyptians Enjoy A Good Nap
There are plenty of countries that take breaks far more seriously than North America. There are some areas of the world who give their employees a two-hour break to reset the mind and so they can enjoy a good lunch. Some people even use this time to head home and nap. Fatherly explains Egypt's reasons for taking a snooze during the day: "That’s because modern Egyptians have similar polyphasic sleep routines to their biblical ancestors: shorter snoozes at night (about six hours), and their version of a siesta, a “ta’assila,” (about two hours) in the afternoon."
10 Japanese Children Learn Chores Early On
I'm a nervous cleaner. When I get nervous, stressed, or bored, I immediately start cleaning wherever I am (and yes, there are some people who truly are offended by me randomly cleaning their belongings. Whoops!). In Japan, however, children are brought up cleaning for the sake of learning how to clean up after themselves. Business Insider explains, "Kids don't need a chaperone to help get them to school, nor do they need anyone else cleaning up after them once there. From as early as first grade, Japanese students sweep and mop classrooms and hallways, dust, and even sometimes clean the bathrooms in their schools, according to Mic."
9 Dominican Republic Parents Keep Their Kids Indoors
Unlike countries like Norway and Switzerland where parents like to have their children outside or put their kids to sleep outside in colder weather, families in the Dominican Republic have differing views. New Parent claims, "Dominican moms rarely take their newborns out of the house. The idea is to limit the babies’ exposure to the elements." I can't say I blame these Dominican parents. There are so many diseases and allergies that are just too dangerous to have a baby around until they're a little older.
8 Drinking Wine At Dinner Is Normal In Italy
There's a longstanding joke or stereotype that everyone in Italy eats pizza, meatballs, and drinks wine. Us North Americans love their food and beverages so much, it's easy to assume the people of Italy must love it too. And we're not too far off. Very Well Family explains how "some research indicates that tasting wine with a family dinner or while under adult supervision may reduce a child’s chances of developing substance abuse problems later in life." This, oddly enough, does make sense. When countries have lower ages to legally drink alcohol, people tend to drink more socially and not have so much of a dependence on it.
7 Sweden Banned Spanking
Every parent is entitled to raise their child however they want. When times get tough with their children, there are many ways to discipline them. But in Sweden, physical punishment is not one of them. Very Well Family states "Sweden became the first country to ban spanking in 1979. That means that the first generation of children who were never exposed to corporal punishment are now parents themselves."
I personally think it's beautiful that children can make mistakes without the fear of being spanked by their parents but to each their own.
6 Lunch Breaks In French Schools Are Longer
One of the best parts about growing up in elementary school was lunch time, snack time, and recess. So in short: eating and playing. What's not to like? The French also see the value in eating a well put-together lunch by having longer lunches. "French parents believe it’s important to slow down and savor meals. And they want their children to practice slow eating from an early age," Very Well Family claims. It's no wonder French cuisine truly is a delicacy.
5 South Korean Parents Demand Respect
A big part of raising kids in South Korea is respect. Vanessa Van Petten from Radical Parenting noticed through her research that "in South Korea, one family I interviewed, [said] during the family dinners, the children rarely spoke directly to the father unless called upon by him or asked a specific question.” Adding to this is the fact that most extended family members live together in one house or close by.
Would you be able to live with your spouse, children, parents, and in-laws?
4 Moms In Bali Don't Want Their Kids To Walk
Bali is an Indonesian island that is known for its pristine landscapes. However, the island has many cultural traditions that most of the families still abide by to this day. Brit Co. says "Bali follow an ancient custom that says a baby’s feet can’t touch the floor for the first 105 days. Believing in reincarnation, the people of Bali feel that babies are their deceased ancestors, reborn." Confused? By keeping their babies feet off the floor, it shows respect for their elders and those who have passed away.
3 Families In Costa Rica Sleep Together
It warms my heart to see people from other cultures falling in love and beginning a family with shared traditions. The more we can learn about other cultures and what they practice, the more rounded we'll become (in my opinion, of course). Jeimy Hernandez from Costa Rica explains her Costa Rican tradition to Cafe Mom when she married an American. "My husband, who is from the US, was surprised there were no nurses to whisk our daughter away after I gave birth so I could get a good night's rest during my hospital stay," she said. "Co-sleeping encourages the mother-child bond from the beginning. I wouldn't want it any other way."
2 Daycare Is All Day In Norway
Parents in America quickly find out how pricey daycare is once they have children who need to be watched. Families who are able to help out their relatives with their children are seriously appreciated due to how expensive professional care costs. However, the people of Norway don't have this problem. Cafe Mom explains, "In Norway, parenting is institutionalized. When a child turns one, he or she is enrolled in Barnehage (Norwegian for 'children’s garden'), which is a state-subsidized daycare that runs all day."
1 Kids Are On The Parents' Time Schedule In Argentina
One of the hardest parts about parenting is that you are now on your child's schedule. When they're infants, you have to adjust to their sleeping and eating patterns, and when they get older, you have to worry about carpools and after-school activities. But in Argentina, the roles are reversed. The Mother Co. states "In Argentina, it’s not uncommon at midnight or later to see little kids of all ages at restaurants and parties. I soon learned, however, that if you dig beneath the surface, you see that Argentine parents are not allowing their children to be sleep-deprived. It’s just expected in their culture that kids adjust to their parents’ eating hours, which can run quite late."