I was talking to a Russian Mum in the park last week, we were talking in English as my Russian isn’t what it used to be. I noticed that her little girl seemed to be wearing no nappy. I gently brought this up with Mum, maybe she forgot to put it on, and she explained that it’s not uncommon to potty train from 6 months in Russia. She went on to point out that at that age the child can’t get up and make last dash for freedom, that the child is quite happy to sit on the potty for longer periods of time (like a Bumbo with an extra dimension) and that ‘no’ and tantrums are not yet part of the vocabulary and by the time they are the child is already used to the potty. Bloody hell, the Russians are onto something, I think if I had my time all over again I might actually have tried that.
This made me wonder what other parenting gems are hidden away overseas and bereft of anything better to do I embarked on a little research.
In Japan when two children are having a blue the parents will often let them battle it out like a couple of gladiators. Turns out they are not sadists and there is no gambling involved, they are letting the two children reach a point where they can settle their disputes between themselves rather than always having their parent manage them. Not sure I’ll try that one, Max has got acquainted to me bailing him out.
Apparently Aka Pygmy fathers who hail from the Democratic Republic of Congo are some of the most committed fathers on the planet taking on a whopping 50% of the responsibility of care. Not only will they take the babies out on hunts with the boys, they also offer the baby their nipples (tried it it doesn’t work). Go Aka Pygmies!
In Mayan villages, children are expected to participate in family work at a very young age. From the time they walk, they contribute to household productivity, not for fun but real genuine child labour help. Apparently the little mites even like it making them feel useful and proud that they are contributing. This is definitely an approach I will be trying with Max, the car needs a good clean and the oven is filthy.
In Australia we have the ‘dummy fairy’ and lots of sleep deprivation but in Denmark there are trees at the local parks where toddlers can hang their dummies from branches as a ceremonial way to say goodbye. It looks fairly attractive I suppose and it sounds good in theory but I wonder how many times a child goes to the dummy tree and returns with a fistful of ‘new’ dummies to try out?
The French feed their bubs stinky cheese and mussels, such a cliché. Korean children throw their teeth onto the roof of their house and make a wish, sneaky Korean parents saving money on tooth fairies. And in Sweden 2 of the 13 months full paid parental leave must be taken by the father, kerching!
And finally I have just finished booking my flights to emigrate to the Polynesian Island after discovering that parents hand over their just walking bubs to local children or siblings to learn some of the skills of parenting like changing nappies and feeding. Presumably the parents gather round for a group hug and a congratulatory high five or two before retiring to their hammocks for a siesta.
Have you stumbled across any international parenting tips you’d care to share? Will any of the tips above make it into your repertoire?
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