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The Happiest Kids in the World: How Dutch Parents Help Their Kids (and Themselves) by Doing Less Paperback – April 4, 2017
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“The key to raising happy kids? . . . Do as the Dutch do.”—Washington Post
“Are you already frantically looking up immigration information, and figuring out how soon you can get a plane ticket to The Netherlands to look at houses? Me too. . . . The spirit of Dutch living is something we can certainly all look to for inspiration.”—Babble
“A must-read for all parents looking to adopt a more relaxed parenting style and create a less stressful environment for their children.”—Library Journal
“American parents exhausted by the pressures and expectations of parenting will appreciate this refreshing look at how another culture handles the same issues.”—Publishers Weekly
“Clear and concise . . . this is one of the most convincing parenting books to come across my desk in the last year.”—Sunday Times
“An eye-opening and badly-needed dose of perspective. In my next life, I want to be Dutch.”
—Pamela Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bébé (French Children Don’t Throw Food)
“I’m done having babies, but this book made me (almost) want to have one more, just so I can raise it the Dutch way!”—Jen Mann, New York Times–bestselling author of People I Want to Punch in the Throat
“A fascinating book—one I wish I had read sooner! In fact, the more I read the more I became tempted to move our entire family to the Netherlands . . .”
—Sarah Turner, author of The Unmumsy Mum
“What a joy to discover that the eternal secret to happy kids just might stem from routine, family time, independence, reasonable expectations—and chocolate sprinkles.”—New York Post
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Top customer reviews
That is the refreshing thing about The Happiest Kids in the World. The message is simple: relax. It's going to be okay. The book has such a friendly, warm tone and I found myself laughing along as I could relate to the culture shock of wait, they let kids do what? And they survive and thrive!? Amazing! The authors' personal anecdotes are all followed up by research and interviews with Dutch professionals and it feels very balanced, a bit like the Dutch parenting the book advocates.
A common complaint for books like this is "Well, that won't work in the US." Yes, part of Dutch parenting happens due to the government--the way they prioritize maternity care and families in policies, the way schools are structured and how health services are available to all. But that only came about because it reflected the culture, the actual families living out their values. My experience in the Netherlands with children was that they weren't weird or exceptional specimens. They were normal kids who were allowed a really low-key beautiful childhood. They felt safe and loved. That's something that all of us, parents or not, can hope for and strive to create in our communities.
If you want some entertaining, non-judgemental advice of how to get off the treadmill of perfectionist parenting or if you're just interested in getting a glimpse into Dutch culture, this is a fantastic start.