Parenting Differences around the World

Originally posted on

Author Mei-Ling Hopgood, who used to live in the United States, moved to Argentina and noticed parents educate children differently in many ways compared to American standards. In her book, “How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm,” she talks about some customs from several countries and their surprising results, here are a few:
1. Bed Time in Argentina Children in Argentina are often allowed to stay up late. Younger children will sleep in much later in the morning than toddlers in the US who are often calling for their parents at 5 a.m.  After some research, Hopgood found out children can occasionally have later nights, without any harm as long as they still get enough sleep. Also, taking children along on social events can prepare them to function socially later and be more comfortable around others.
2. Eating Habits in France Hopgood noticed that in France, school lunches often have ingredients like duck and asparagus, and children drink water with their meal rather than soda or juice. A French couple told the author that in their home the rule is: “you allowed to not like it, but you are not allowed to not try it.” And even if the children don’t like certain foods the first time they try, parent s will still offer the same food and many times children will start linking them second time around.
As an Au Pair, you can also share your own child care customs and teach your Host Parents some of your own family’s tricks.
To learn more check the book’s summary at

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