Parenting in Netherlands

Dutch parenting


The Dutch people are famous around the world over for raising some of the happiest kids in the world. This definitely has something to do with the Dutch Parenting Style & their culture. This posts focuses on bringing to light 15 things that make Dutch Parenting special.

On an average, most Dutch parents are exceptionally calm and cool, even if in their other personal aspects they may not be as patient, understanding and collected. 

Dutch kids-friendly parenting style

  1. The Netherlands is one of the few European countries that believes in home birth and tries to isolate pregnancy from medical procedures and drugs, until and unless there are complications. Child birth in the hospital is also as de-medicalized as possible – no medical interventions, no pain-inducing injections, no epidural are given. Fathers are also allowed to be part of the child birth process inside the operation theatre and women are encouraged to give birth naturally in ergonomic positions.
  2. After the birth of the child, under the health care system, a trained nurse or Kraamzorg is sent to the home of the new-born everyday for eight days to teach parents how to hold the baby and take care of her while helping with light household work.
  3. Working women here are entitled to 4 months of maternity leave with one month mandatory before the birth of the child. Fathers too are entitled for paid paternal leaves. This helps them in building the connect with the child as well as extends a helping hand to the mom who has just delivered.
  4. There are government–subsidized crèches here that provide excellent support system to working parents. With plenty of part-time jobs, mothers can work and leave their kids at the day-care for certain hours of the day. The culture of hiring nannies to look after kids at home is also prevalent. Grandparents also join in to take care of their grand-kids. This definitely inturn helps in the moms getting back to their life without the stress of compromising on the rearing of her kids.
  5. Netherlands is a perfect example of quality work-life. Even the Dutch government encourages employers to facilitate a good work-life balance in their organizations. The Dutch working hours are the shortest world-wide – they have only 29-hour work week.
  6. Netherlands has lots of playgrounds for kids which also make for the ideal family picnic spots. 
  7. Cycling is one of the most common ways to travel – small kids travel with their parents in a box bike and as they grow they are given normal bikes to drive themselves. The craze for cars is discouraged in kids here. And as a result the kids are kept outdoors and outdoor play forms a great chunk of their time each day.
  8. The Dutch culture encourages kids to be normal – which means be your own self – you do not have to compete with others. The Dutch saying goes as, ‘Just be normal, that’s already crazy enough’. Parents never push their kids to think that they are better than the crowd and will never expect their children to be the best or the fastest etc. The purpose is to teach kids to look within & focus on the society as a while and not differentiate themselves from the community.
  9. Kids are encouraged to sell off their toys and buy used toys in Netherlands. On King’s Day in April every year, most kids visit the kid markets with their parents to sell their toys and buy toys from others.
  10. Parents do not practise or believe in gender discrimination or differentiation here. Boys and girls are treated equally it means that girls are encouraged to voice their opinions while boys are not taught to be courteous with a lady around. 
  11. The three R’s of parenting that is emphasized in Netherlands are – rust, regelmaat and reinheid that means rest, regularity and cleanliness. Dutch parents believe that kids need to sleep plenty so that they are calmer by nature. You may also like to read about Why Good Sleep is the most under rated health advice.
  12. Parents rarely lose their cool in Netherlands – kids are permitted to voice themselves without being scared of punishments. Parents prefer to hear out their kids and use methods like counting-to-three in case the kid is challenging boundaries rather than get upset and create a ruckus about it.
  13. Since kids are allowed to speak out from the younger age itself, they are more assertive and quite considerate, rather than being rude or get into fighting.
  14. Dutch fathers are hands-on and highly involved in parenting. They participate and take rounds in taking care of their kids and are not ashamed to do so in public. 
  15. Dutch parenting teach their kids to celebrate in proper style, as per Dutch traditions. During Christmas, the arrival of Sinterklaas is celebrated in an unique manner, and for days together.