Dutch kids are consistently ranked as the happiest in the world.
Veronique van der Kleij, a child and school psychologist based in the Netherlands, shares things Dutch parents do differently that can help raise happier and more resilient children.
You can follow these tips easily to raise happier kids too. Here are five things Dutch parents never do, as shared by the psychologist on CNBC.
1. NEVER hover over the kids
Dutch parents are not constantly worried about their kids falling down and hurting themselves. During playtime, you will not see a Dutch parent running after their kid to catch them or hold them every time they trip or fall. Dutch kids run free on the playground without too much supervision. Parents usually sit on a bench and chat amongst themselves while their kids are busy playing, climbing, running and falling.
2. NEVER work more than 40 hours a week
Dutch people value work-life balance. A 2021 study found that nearly half the workforce in the Netherlands had part-time jobs. While in most countries, dads may be spending too much time at work, Dutch fathers take at least one day off each week (their “Papaday”) to spend it bonding with their children.
3. NEVER eat too many meals separately from the kids
Dutch parents make sure they eat at least one meal together with their kids. Dinnertime serves as a way for all the family members to get together, eat, connect and talk about their day. Feeling connected to their parents and having unfiltered conversations contributes to happier and more emotionally balanced children.
4. NEVER throw away structure
Dutch parents are advised to provide “rust, reinheid, regelmaat” to their kids, which roughly translates to “rest, cleanliness, and structure.” This means you create a structure for your kids that allows for plenty of naps for the little ones as well as enforces daily hygiene. Having a healthy daily structure is essential for the kids to flourish and fosters a sense of discipline, leading to positive child development.
5. NEVER say your opinion is the last word
Dutch parents do not enforce their decisions on their kids. They believe in having discussions around matters that involve the family and also take their kids’ views and ideas into account. This builds the child’s confidence tremendously. Dutch parents also don’t shy away from discussing uncomfortable topics like sex, drugs and gender. The bottom line is accepting your children for who they truly are.