Dutch children have been ranked highly in studies of wellbeing1, 2, 3, earning them the title of the world’s happiest kids.4 But what is it about parenting in the Netherlands that helps kids flourish? Here’s more about the three recipes in the alchemy of Dutch parenting.
Dutch parents embrace outdoor family time
With a love for adventure and desire to spend time with their loved ones in a gezellig setting5, Dutch people spend much of their time outdoors. In fact, they are so comfortable with staying outdoors that there are more than a thousand campsites in the Netherlands!6
Apart from the many physical, mental and social benefits of outdoor play7,8, there are also plenty of ways parents and kids can grow, just by being outdoors. Coming into contact with the boundless realms of nature can encourage kids to explore courageously, and inspire parents with new discoveries.
Dutch parents believe in independent play
Free, unstructured playtime is pencilled into the schedule, and that’s that! Whether it’s cycling in the park or hanging out at a playground, playtime is independent – kids can figure out how to entertain themselves.
Without parents planning everything out for them, kids get creative and collaborative during playtime, picking up teamwork, problem solving and even negotiation skills!9 Parents also get to socialise, develop their own passions and discover more about their kids as they play in their natural element!
Dutch parents and kids share the journey of discovery
It isn’t just about playtime – Dutch parents let kids take the lead in learning10, and this sometimes leads to new areas of growth for the adults too!
Driven by the kid’s curiosity and creativity, Dutch families make discoveries beyond what the parents can plan for, creating opportunities for two-way growth, and shared moments to treasure.
In embracing the outdoors and giving kids space to grow, Dutch mums step out of their comfort zones, making new discoveries and overcoming challenges of their own.
With the freedom to play and space to grow, Dutch kids are able to explore their interests, and hone important life skills that help them become independent.