Podcast Show Notes: Dutch Secrets To Raising Happy Kids

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Welcome to the podcast show notes and transcript for Episode 11: Dutch Secrets To Raising Happy Kids. In this episode Rachel Heller and I speak with Rina Mae Acosta (writer at Finding Dutchland and co-author of The Happiest Kids In The World). The Dutch system works to stress the importance of family bonding as a whole and individually between each parent with the children. Even fathers are encouraged by their employers to spend time with their children.  Rina’s examples show why family is important to create happy kids. It’s all about time spent together (not the money spent) which results in a happy childhood. For example, the Dutch are big on camping and caravanning on their holidays. All of us parents want happy kids so I think listening to how the Dutch create happy childhoods will be really beneficial.

The Dutch believe in the importance of family time
The Dutch believe in the importance of family bonding and time together.

Time Stamped Show Notes

1:20 A Happy Childhood is a Well-Kept Dutch Secret

5:34 Encouraging Age-Appropriate Independence in Children

6:41 Employers Recognise Why Family Is Important

8:20 The Importance of Family Bonding on Long Vacations

9:50 Why The Cinque Terre is Great With Kids

13:05 Spend Time With Your Kids in Nature

18:00 The Book Tour For The Happiest Kids In The World

23:18 Happy Kids Have Rest and Regularity


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This is a transcript of 1001 Travel Tales Podcast: Episode 11: Dutch Secrets To Raising Happy Kids  (Transcript). The text has been lightly edited for clarity and readability.

A conversation with Shobha George (Just Go Places Blog), Rachel Heller (RachelsRuminations.com) and Rina Mae Acosta (writer at Finding Dutchland and co-author of The Happiest Kids In The World).

How The Dutch Spend Time With Their Families To Create Happy Kids
Added bonus? You don’t need to spend a lot of money to create a happy childhood.

SG: Today we’re here with Rina Mae Acosta who is an American expat living in the Netherlands. She writes at Finding Dutchland about her Dutch reality. She’s also got a new book out called [easyazon_link identifier=”1615193901″ locale=”US” tag=”jg20-20″]The Happiest Kids in the World[/easyazon_link] which we would love to hear about because she claims that Dutch kids are the happiest kids in the world, according to a UN survey. Is that it?


SG: UNICEF: I want to hear what makes them so happy. Rachel’s another American living in the Netherlands so you probably have very similar experiences coming from an American background and raising children. Both of you have raised children in the Netherlands.

RH: I’m just at the very tail end of the teenage years.

SG: And Rina you’re at the opposite. You’re at the pre-school years.

RA: I’m at the baby stage. I might even have another one.

SG: Oh, fun, you make cute babies.

RA: Thank you. I’m right in the beginning of it, basically. Early motherhood.

A Happy Childhood is a Well-Kept Dutch Secret

RH: Yeah. You’re just approaching some of these things about raising children in Holland that are very different.

RA: Exactly.

RH: Yeah. It’s very different. It can be quite shocking to Americans, can’t it?

RA: I’m convinced that one of the best-kept secrets is the Netherlands. It’s actually how they got childhood right. I think that’s incredible because a lot of the time especially in our modern culture we forget that children are actually just children but we treat them like miniature adults.

So we have all these expectations of them and often times, not surprisingly, they’re going to fail. I love how the Dutch have a pragmatic view of it. It’s not necessarily that they spoil their children but that they allow their children to be children and create structure. There’s a societal structure that enables them to grow and to learn and to become the adults they do become.

RH: Well that’s interesting because you say it’s allowing them to be children but at the same time it’s allowing them far more independence and decision-making power than children get at home in the States, I think.

RA: That’s true too.

A Pragmatic Approach To Teaching Sexuality

RH: About sexuality when they’re teenagers, for example.

SG: Yeah, I remember, Rachel, being a little shocked that your son has his girlfriend over regularly. They just come on down for breakfast whenever they feel like it.

RH: She doesn’t actually stay over that often but it’s okay for her to go on upstairs in his room. Whereas Americans if the kids’ boyfriend or girlfriend is there, you stay nearby because they’re not allowed to be alone.

SG: And the door stays open.

RH: Yeah. It’s so unpragmatic and also unrealistic. I mean think back to when you were a teenager how much happened anyway that your parents just never knew about, right? It basically sets up a situation where kids have to lie to the parents. Whilst here you know they don’t have to lie.

RA: Actually my child is starting his first year of pre-school. He’s going to get his first lesson in sexuality education which I’m totally excited about. At that age starting at the age of 4, they’re going to start learning about feelings and what is appropriate and what is not an appropriate place to touch. I find that incredibly wonderful because you create a culture where it’s open. It makes the children realize that sex is actually a natural part of life. It creates pride and self-respect rather than creating shame.

SG: I think that’s very interesting because… in the US there is something very similar with little children but it’s geared more towards stranger danger. It’s less emphasis on a positive aspect of what’s appropriate and not appropriate.

RA: The reality is though most of those unfortunate cases aren’t actually strangers but the people that the children are surrounded by.

What I appreciate about the Dutch approach is that it allows children to understand what is right and wrong. It builds the self-confidence to talk to their parents or teachers that something did happen.

RH: Yeah, exactly. As they get older they, of course, get more explicit about what they teach about sexuality and in biology class in the first or second year of secondary school.

When they’re 12 or 13 the teacher uses a model and puts a condom on it in front of the class. I’m trying to not be too explicit about it on the podcast. They use something of the appropriate shape. It’s not a banana, it’s an appropriate shape.

RA: It’s like a dildo right?

RH: I was trying not to say dildo here.

RA: It’s the correct anatomical figure.

RH: It’s standing on a counter. He demonstrates, or she demonstrates, how to put the condom onto it in front of a classroom full of 12, 13 year olds. Of course, I’m sure there’s lots of giggling around it but they learn how to do the thing properly. And they’re taught about all sorts of other issues around sexuality and about saying no, if you want to say no and saying yes if you want to say yes. And how to keep safe and how to protect themselves from pregnancy and STD’s. It’s wonderful.

Encouraging Age-Appropriate Independence in Children

RA: Children are allowed to be children but they’re also encouraged to be independent. They’re definitely not spoiled.

Doing chores is a big thing, like helping around the house. They’re expected to actually clean up after themselves at age appropriate times. You know it sounds all perfect and everything but it’s just a pragmatic way of doing things. If you let children do their chores early on it’s not going to be a big deal when they’re actually old enough to know that they’re supposed to help out around the house.

RH: If you ever come to Holland you’ll see kids at quite a young age on bicycles. They learn to bicycle at about 4 and they’ll bicycle with the parent, of course when they’re that little.

How The Dutch Spend Time With Their Families To Create Happy Kids
A Dutch cargo bike seems like a fun way to spend time with the kids (Photo credit: Rina Mae Acosta)

I know my daughter was going to school on her own at 9 on her bicycle and it wasn’t that nearby either, She was going off on her own and that’s normal there. It’s allowing them to get themselves to school. She took herself to field hockey as well, and that was fine. That independence is important.

SG: The Dutch seem to encourage independence but they also value the family unit where fathers and mothers are encouraged to participate in the family.

RH: Yeah. Oh absolutely.

Employers Recognise Why Family Is Important

RH: It is much more common here than in many other countries to work part-time.  And so mother, even Dads will work part-time. When the kids are younger like your kids age Rina, they might go to a sort of nursery school twice a week. Then on the other days the Mom might watch them for a day or two and the father might watch them for a day or two. And that’s fine and that’s normal.

How The Dutch Spend Time With Their Families To Create Happy Kids
Papa Dag (Papa Day) is built into the work schedule of Dutch dads to emphasise the importance of family bonding (Photo credit: Rina Mae Acosta)

SG: And the father’s employer doesn’t give him grief that he’s not fully committed to the job?

RA: Not at all.

SG: That’s such a refreshing approach.

RA: And mind you, these are professional fathers from all different types of levels. You have basically part-time surgeons, part-time lawyers. A lot of part-time teachers, part-time consultants.

Whatever you want to do you are able to work part-time. And if you’re not able to work part-time you can have this thing called ‘Working from Home’. So technically you’re paid for a full 5 days but one of those 5 days you’re at home. The reality is you’re really taking care of the children. Then you’re making up for the loss time later on at night or when the children are asleep.

RH: Or on the weekends or whatever.

Parents Receive Substantial Vacation Time

SG: Right. How many weeks do you get off for vacation a year? Is it like the Germans where they get like 6 to 8 weeks?

RH: It depends on the company but they basically get about 7 to 8 weeks of vacation.

SG: Wow! Is that in addition to National Public holidays or including?

RA: Excluding National Public holidays.

SG: It’s useful to know that there’s like 7 weeks plus national holidays. In addition to your potentially working from home or being more involved with your child’s life in other ways, you also have a good chunk of time that you can have as family time on vacation.

The Importance of Family Bonding on Long Vacations

RH: [Dutch] people go on vacation with their kids for long periods of time. The most popular places I would say are Spain and France because Dutch people miss the sun. So they get in their cars and they’ll go where they know they’ll get some sun.

SG: Yeah, Rina you go to Italy a lot don’t you?

The Dutch Seek Out Sunshine On Holidays

RA: Yeah, almost every single year. I also want to emphasize that the Dutch do go on holiday. What I love about it and really appreciate this being a young family is that they’ve learned to also go on vacations according to what they can afford.

It doesn’t all have to be luxurious and glamorous. They’re pretty pragmatic about it. They’ll go on camping holidays. If you go around Europe travelling around, chances are if you see someone hauling a trailer, the plates are going to be Dutch.

RH: They set it up with a caravan somewhere in the North of Italy or the South of France or wherever. They’ll stay for weeks on the camp grounds. The kids will run wild and swim in the lake or in the ocean and they have a home base in this caravan. Yeah, and it’s not that expensive.

RA: Exactly. They’re able to still understand that it’s really not how much you spend but the quality of time you spend together as a family. So that’s their real focus when they go away on vacation. And even if you’re like a young family you can’t afford a lot, camping can go a long way. That’s what the children remember the most growing up. What they remember is the time they actually spent with their family doing family things.

SG: Yes exactly. All hotels kind of blend into one, that doesn’t matter so much as the actual experience of doing something.

Why The Cinque Terre is Great With Kids

RA: Yeah. We go every year to Italy because I made a kind of a mistake of going to Cinque Terre the first time around when I first arrived in Europe. Because I made that mistake I always want to go back.

RH: I have never been there.

SG: I’ve been there, yes. I was surprised that you took kids there because it’s quite rocky. As beautiful as it is it is quite rocky. It’s not a place that you can let children run wild because then they’ll just fall off the edge of a cliff, no? Or am I just being an American crazy mother?

Monterosso al Mare is the Best Cinque Terre Village With Kids

RA: Actually, a little of both but I think that’s because there’s 5 villages. That’s why they call it  Cinque Terre. The village that we ended up in and that we go to every single year  is called Monterosso al Mare. I would think it’s actually a beautiful and safe place to bring your children.

It’s actually the biggest one and the hotel we stay in is called Villa Steno. It’s set up on the cliffs. I think what most people don’t realize about the Cinque Terra is that it really still is a village atmosphere. It’s a real village with probably only a population of 1300 locals. They actually recognize who are the foreigners and who are the tourists especially when it comes to children.

Check TripAdvisor Reviews Now!

The Italians absolutely love children. They go crazy over children. So believe it or not whenever a child is there there’s actually eyes on the children. They’re not stalking you as much as they’re very aware of who the children are.

So at all times it kind of feels like the children are still able to run around because the locals know the children, even the tourists’ children. Like my boy they know him. They already know him the second time when we came back.

RH: I haven’t been to Cinque Terra but I’ve been in other parts of Italy and I do remember that. People love seeing children and they’re happy to have children in the restaurant and very tolerant of the noise they make.

Many Factors Make The Cinque Terre Great

SG: What is it about the Cinque Terre that draws you each year?

RA: There’s not just one thing.

It’s also the food. If you love seafood you would really, really love the Cinque Terra especially if you know where to go too. And I love how there’s not that many differences in price point. If you know where to go you can eat really, really well.

Again, what I love about it is the community feeling. we’re there for 2 weeks and we really feel that we’re really part of them. I love that because you often don’t get that anymore a lot when you travel. You more like an outsider, right?

But in Cinque Terre like in Monterosso al Mare you feel like just going back to the same bar for the third night you’ve already become really good friends with these people and then they’ll actually remember you. S o when you come back even 2 or 3 years later they’ll say hi and talk about that time that you spent with each other.

SG: Yeah, that’s a really nice feeling to feel like you belong somewhere.

RA: There are children too in the Cinque Terre. T here’s actually playgrounds scattered all throughout the 5 villages too.

How The Dutch Spend Time With Their Families To Create Happy Kids
A playground in the Cinque Terre, Italy (Photo credit: Rina Mae Acosta)

In terms of beaches, Monterosso al Mare is the only one with a real beach and I would highly recommend. We always stay in the old part, Hotel Villa Steno. We do make the 10 to 15 minute trek all the way to the new part because it’s really nice.  There’s a lot more variety and I like the calmer water.

Spend Time With Your Kids in Nature

SG: I’ve seen pictures of you. You just put the children in backpacks and walk with them. You go hiking a lot.

RA: Yeah. We put the toddlers on the backpacks, like the real good solid ones. And just go on a trail. Bring plenty of water, of course. I would recommned if you really have your heart set on going on a trail with a toddler or a baby to leave at like 8 o’ clock, 7.30 in the morning to beat the crowd and to beat the hot sun. By 10 ‘o’ clock even if you go in May it can get really, really hot.

How The Dutch Spend Time With Their Families To Create Happy Kids
The Dutch believe a happy childhood is about spending time together as a family (Photo credit: Rina Mae Acosta)

RH: Yeah. We used to do that with my son. There’s a big age difference between our kids. Our daughter’s 5 and half years older than our son so she was walking but he was in the backpack.

It takes some strength to be able to carry that backpack, with his little hat on him so he wouldn’t get sunburnt. He fell asleep so you’d get to go wherever it was you wanted to go because he’d be sleeping the whole time. Then he’d wake up as soon as he’d come off your back of course.

Manage Your Expectations When Hiking with Kids

RA: I would only bring the older kids between like 6 to 9 if you trust that they can listen. If you can trust that they can listen then it will be fine and also have realistic expectations too. Like you don’t do an entire trail.

You should get advice from the local villagers about which paths are open because sometimes they’re closed. For the most part it’s a pretty easy trek for 6 to 9 year old kids.

RH: Yeah. Good advice. Our daughter was always fairly compliant. She wouldn’t go running to edges of cliffs or anything that she couldn’t handle. But regular bribes are important.

Where We Admit Flat-Out Bribery Works With Kids

RA: You can bribe them with the goal of getting to a particular restaurant.

SG: If you have foodie children, yes. Ice cream or gelato always works.

RA: Yeah. My 4 year old is almost 5. The food is so good that this is a 4 year old child that asks for homemade squid ink pasta with lobster.

And he’s a normal 4 year old child but the food is that good that they make children fall in love with it too. How many 4 year olds would really know? He calls it black pasta but it’s really the squid ink.

How The Dutch Spend Time With Their Families To Create Happy Kids
Why the Cinque Terre in Italy is great with kids (Photo credit: Rina Mae Acosta)

RH: With my daughter it was often just if it was something that we were walking to that she wanted to see. For example, we were in Germany or when we are in Britain, she was perfectly willing to climb hills, long flights of stairs whatever if there was a castle at the end of it. She loved castles, for example… because princess and castles, you know.

So then you could get any amount of walking out of her if it was on the way to something she wanted to see.

SG: Well I discovered that mine will climb anything just to see the view from the top. Yes, any number of towers that we’ll climb. I’m like it’s the same tower as the one that we just climbed. It’ll be the same view. But no, we got to go see it.

RA: Then you really, really have to take your children to Cinque Terre because there’s a lot of climbing.

SG: Lot of climbing. And then jumping on rocks and clambering over stuff, all of that  is just an adventure in itself.

Take Advantage of the Local Playgrounds

RH: Definitely. If it’s a place with playgrounds, then you know when they’re over excited you can take them to a playground and let the yaya’s out.

RA: I would really encourage, if you really are going to go there, there’s only one hotel we always go back to and that’s the Hotel Villa Steno.

SG: That’s the one you stay at. Because we been to Liguria and we’ve done a day trip to the Cinque Terre. We stayed in Alassio which is amazing for little kids because the water is so flat. There are no waves and it just goes forever.

By the time you realize your child is wondering into the water you have plenty of time to rescue a kid in trouble. It’s beautiful and the whole boardwalk is full of gelaterias and pizzerias. So it’s definitely a good kid place. That’s where we stayed when the twins were about 3 years old. We only did a day trip to the Cinque Terre.

RH: What you just described can also fit the Monterosso al Mare where Villa Steno is at.

[Check out the TripAdvisor Review for Villa Steno here.]

Safe Beaches Encourage Independent Play

SG: Okay. So is it’s a nice calm sheltered area as well.

RH: Yes, it’s flat, well not all of it. But what I like about it is that it kind of teaches the kids grit, right? Resilience and grit in a sense that okay there’s a lot of stairs. G o walk up the stairs.

SG: It’s not the “mommy carry me up the stairs? I’m hot?”

RA: No, no, no.no. You just stare at them and be like “they are stairs. Go get up. We have to go back to the hotel.”

SG: Oh that’s the Dutch Mom speaking. See you’ve learned well.

RA: Yeah. They are, keep in mind the happiest kids in the world. If they’re given the idea that they can do things themselves it’s character building I would argue. We do it in a way that we make them do things when we know that they’re not actually tired.

We’re not going to make a child go, climb up a hundred steps if they’ve been out all day. But if we’re just starting the day and they’ve eaten, they’ve had a good night sleep and they have a hundred stairs to climb, my 4 year old is expected to climb the hundred stairs.

RH: Yeah, that makes sense to me. You want to do age appropriate things. You don’t want to say you’re a 4 year old you’re going to climb this mountain by yourself. It’s age appropriate independence.

How The Dutch Spend Time With Their Families To Create Happy Kids
Spending time together exploring the back streets of an Italian town (Photo credit: Rina Mae Acosta)

The Book Tour For The Happiest Kids In The World

SG: Well you’re going to have quite a different trip coming up though aren’t you Rina? You’re taking your children with you on your book tour of the US. Your husband’s coming with you as well right because it would be quite hard to just have the children on your own.

RA: Yeah, we’re looking forward to I think a 12 to 14 hour flight. We’re taking direct flights to San Francisco and then flying from San Francisco to New York. Then from New York we’re going to visit Philadelphia too and also Washington DC. And then fly back to Amsterdam and then a day later fly to the UK.

SG: Are you bringing the children to the UK too? That’s a lot of traveling for the little ones.

RA: To go to the Swindon Book Fair Festival because I’m speaking there.

RH: It must be really exciting promoting your book like this all over the place?

Long-Haul Flights With Young Children

RA: I think it is. I haven’t been home in 5 years too because I couldn’t handle putting my little boy a 4 year old in an airplane for 12 hours. I couldn’t do that to myself or the passengers.

RH: Don’t expect it to be bad, it isn’t necessarily. I’ve flown with kids enough times in all sorts of places, all sorts of lengths of time. Really give them something to do, a tablet, a phone or the little setback screen. T hen they fall asleep.

SG: Yes. A 4/5 year old will be fine because he’ll have a tablet and then he’ll sleep. The baby might be harder because they don’t have as long an attention span. There’s only so much [easyazon_link identifier=”054584231X” locale=”US” tag=”jg20-20″]Peppa Pig[/easyazon_link] they can watch.

RA: How do you guys handle any major time differences because the 9 hour time difference makes me a bit anxious? Do you guys have any tips for that?

SG: I keep my children up and go straight into the time zone that we land. So if you arrive in the evening then you go to sleep. If you arrive during the day they stay up all day even if they’ve been up for hours. And we go to bed at a regular time. They are such good little flyers now because we’ve done that since they were babies. It really puts them into the right time zone.

RH: That’s more or less what I did as well.

SG: Yeah, it’s harsh but it works. It’ll be tough in the beginning especially like that first day when they’re tired and they want to sleep. Y ou just have to come up with something interesting. Hopefully they’re seeing your family and friends and they’ll just be too excited to sleep. You can keep them going until an appropriate time.

Hotels versus AirBnb

RA: We decided to do hotels because of what you post Shobha about…You posted something before about why you prefer hotels rather than Airbnb

SG: I think it’s easier to keep children occupied in a hotel because there’s bound to be a pool. The quality of the Airbnb you just don’t know until you get there. It may not be as child proof as they think it is.

RH: With older kids Airbnb’s can be great because you can book a whole apartment. It’s got the kitchen and it’s a home. You’re not going to bother other guests unless you let them run around in the hallway. When they’re older past the point where you really need to child proof as much Airbnb is really useful.

SG: How long are you in the US for this book tour?

RA: I will away in total for about 3 weeks with the kids the whole time.

SG: It’s wonderful that your husband can come along as well?

RA: Oh, most definitely. And for the most part I’ll have plenty of extra babysitters to help us.

RH: And the kids will end up spoiled rotten but that’s fine. It’s what you do on holiday.

Taking Your Child To Work

SG: Frankly they’re also working because they have to show how and why they’re the happiest kids in the world. Your children are your product demonstration!

RH: Okay, I’m getting pictures here of you sitting at a table of a book signing in a bookstore with 2 kids with robotic smiles on their faces.

SG: Or you know what children do? They always do the worst things possible when you don’t want them to. I can see them having complete tantrums too. Just because oh, I need you to be happy. Uh uh, today I’m not happy.

RA: I bought both my boys to a book reading in the Hague. My little boy at times had this look “This is too boring Momma.” Then he would just get up right in front of everyone. He’s not shy at all which I totally love. He would come up to the reading stage and sit on my lap and say “can we please finish now?”

SG: Do I look happy Momma? No, I do not.

How The Dutch Spend Time With Their Families To Create Happy Kids
A Dutch television interview promoting the book, The Happiest Kids In The World (Photo credit: Rina Mae Acosta)

RA: Exactly, like I really don’t want to be here anymore. Which is part of what the book’s philosophy was right? And letting children be confident enough to say what’s on their mind, to express how they feel.

The Dutch Attitude Towards Public Tantrums

RH: They can speak their mind and they’re allowed to have an opinion. Absolutely.

SG: It’s not even so much allowed – it’s encouraged to have an opinion.

RH: They’re trying to express their opinion but they’re too young to express it.  They end up melting down and having a tantrum right, in public, in the supermarket. Classic situation but in Holland you’ll actual see the parents just stand there and wait. The kid will be shrieking and everybody else will be looking at them but they’re looking with a sort of an understanding smile. We know what you’re going through.

RA: We have. It’s more about solidarity.

RH: And they’ll wait.

SG: To be fair I did that too because I just felt like there’s nothing you can do that will embarrass me so just get it over with. And when I get older and I’m going to be senile, I’m so going to embarrass you.  You just go on and throw your tantrum in the supermarket but you’re still not getting the candy.

RH: But here you won’t get the nasty look from people like you can’t control your children.

SG: I did get those but I didn’t care.

Happy Kids Have Rest and Regularity

RA: I lessen tantrums because I follow what they call rust en regelmatt, so rest and regularity. Basically the children have a life is so boring that they know exactly what to expect. I think that’s absolutely perfect from the ages of 0 to 6 basically the ages where they can really get into  tantrums. Life is monotonous and boring.

SG: You will be happy. You are so bored you’re happy. You’re mind-numbingly happy.

RA: That’s basically it. They’re so bored, right?  What’s really going on in the modern world is that in little children I’m convinced they actually are really over stimulated. Like the whole world is fascinating enough that if you actually create a calm environment the children are going to have more than enough to be curious about and to discover.

RH: Yeah, it really just means predictability. Kids have a predictable schedule getting up at the same time every day. They go to school or pre-school 2 days a week. The other 3 days a week they know what they’re going to be doing. Dinner’s at the same time every day and so on.

How The Dutch Spend Time With Their Families To Create Happy Kids
Nap time in the fresh open air (Photo credit: Rina Mae Acosta)

SG: Oh, I’m a firm believer in schedules as well. They know what to expect, you know what to expect and they don’t feel so anxious. When you’re little everything is done for you or to you, they must feel so out of control.

Regular Schedules Are An Advantage on Vacations

RH: Which is an advantage of the Dutch child travelling because they’ll take him in their caravan and follow the same schedule as you would do at home.

We didn’t do that and I thought, oh, this is going to throw them off entirely when we go on these vacations. Neither did we do the caravan thing. Also, we did go out and have dinner later than normal and that sort of thing. I think because they were used to sort of real consistency and regularity at home they could deal with that change in schedule for a while on vacation with no problem.

RA: I like how you put it Rachel. Then maybe that’s why they’re able to travel everywhere. Wherever you go chances are you’ll run into a Dutch family.

RH: Everywhere.

RA: We were able to take our children on road trips. We’d drive from our area down to Cinque Terre and make 2 or 3 stops along the way. We rarely had any tantrums.

RH: That’s a long drive, how many days did you take for it?

RA: Well we’d stop in Switzerland and then stop again in Northern Italy. It takes us about 3 whole days.

Where To Find More About Happy Kids The Dutch Way

SG: Thank you very much Rina for speaking to us. You can read more of Rina’s work at FindingDutchland.com and check out her new book as well, The Happiest Kids In The World. It is already out in Europe and the UK and will be out in the US in April, I believe.

RA: April 4th.

SG: Okay, and obviously, the best place to get it is always Amazon and Rina is also on social media and your handles are

RA: @Rinamae for Twitter and then for Instagram it’s FindingDutchland.

SG: Okay, perfect.

RH: You should check her out

SG: Well thank you very much it was wonderful talking to you.

RH: Thanks Rina.

RA: And thank you for having me. You two are incredibly fun to talk to.

SG: We try.

{End of Transcript}

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8 thoughts on “Podcast Show Notes: Dutch Secrets To Raising Happy Kids”

  1. Other countries definitely have a lot to learn from the Dutch. In Canada, we only have 2-weeks vacation plus national holidays. It is not nearly enough for proper long term travel that allows for immersion in different cultures. But we do use the time as best as we can to form bonds with our little ones. Here’s hoping more countries adopt the Dutch way of raising happy kids 🙂

    1. I am a big fan of longer travel with the kids – 1 week isn’t nearly enough. Our best holidays have been 2-3 weeks. Everybody had time to wind down and then we got into a good rhythm before we had to come back.

  2. Very informative! The Dutch do many things right, including child-rearing policies, that are also found in many other European countries. North America could learn much form the example.

    1. I think so too! The part-time work is great – you can spend time with your kids doing something like go to a museum when it isn’t the weekend and everyone else is there.

  3. Sounds like a fascinating book. I really like the comparisons between American/Dutch children at different ages. We really do shelter our kids from the world here in the states don’t we? I am off to check this out. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Your kids are so cute Shobha! Yes, it s so true that it is important to get out and enjoy nature with the children. It is also important to see the World.

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