6 Parenting Tips from Around the World That Only Sound Crazy to Americans

Diaper-free babies and nipple-offering dads are just a few.

6 parenting tips

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Are you more of a Tiger Mom or an Elephant Mom? Adopting a “third-child” style or honoring your tendency to helicopter? It seems like there are as many different parenting styles as there are parents. While raising a child is anything but one-size-fits-all, it can be helpful to see how other parents are getting the job done. With that in mind, we rounded up six of our favorite parenting tips from moms and dads around the world. Some may make you cringe—an ice bath, really?—but others may just inspire you to try something new.

1. Japanese children take solo trips on the subway.
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A big point of discussion among parents is when we should let our children ride public transportation by themselves. The age varies by family, but the general consensus is some time around 11. That’s five years too late, according to many parents in Japan, where children as young as 6 are expected to ride the rails solo. In fact, some schools even require it.

To help keep moms and dads from worrying, there are certain safeguards in place, including tracking devices so parents can keep up with their kid’s whereabouts, and color-coded flaps on backpacks so strangers are aware that the child is heading to school. But perhaps the greatest reason for nervous parents to exhale? Japan’s relatively low crime rate.

2. Aka dads are so hands-on, they offer babies their nipples.6 parenting tips 2
Photograph by Shutterstock

Men in the Aka tribe in central Africa have no problem pulling their weight at home. Though women are considered the primary caregivers, when moms leave to hunt or choose their next camp spot, dads happily assume household duties, including childcare. They’ll even offer their nipple to a crying baby if mom is away. According to Barry Hewlett, an American anthropologist who lived with the tribe, Aka men either hold or stay within easy reach of their babes a whopping 47 percent of the time—more than fathers in any other cultural group, anywhere. Is it any wonder Hewlett proclaimed the Aka the “best fathers in the world”?

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