17 fascinating ways mamas parent differently around the world 🌎

From sleeping routines to maternity leave, these mamas share their local traditions.

17 fascinating ways mamas parent differently around the world 🌎

Spoiler alert: There is no right way to parent your kids—and that's even more evident when you see all the different traditions and customs from parents around the world. At the end of the day, mama will always know what's best for her family.

We asked #TeamMotherly to share their parenting customs from where they live and found that there is always more than one way to do things.

From sleeping routines and feeding to maternity leave and hospital costs, every country has its own way of welcoming babies into the world. Here's what they had to say.

"In Sweden, we get 480 days parental leave split between the parents. You can travel on the bus for free with a stroller, kids are outside no matter the weather, fathers are just as involved as mothers in the upbringing, public breastfeeding is normal even in non-child focused restaurants, co-sleeping is considered as normal, putting your kid to daycare does not cost a fortune, parents have the right to work max 75% of their normal work-time until child turns 8-years-old, kids start eating fish from a very early age (6 months onwards)."—Judit T. Kalo, Sweden

"In India, babies and toddlers co-sleep with parents, unlike many other countries, where kids are given separate rooms to sleep from the very beginning. Indians believe co-sleeping induces attachment, greater affection and patience and is needed for the initial bonding between parents n the new born."—Lili Rizvi, India

"In Finland, our parental leave is nine months, after that you can get child home care allowance if a child under 3-years-old is looked after at home. I'm a stay-at-home mom with two kids and I'm so thankful for being able to spend their first years with them, seeing every little thing they learn."—Sinna Katila, Finland

"In Pakistan the new mom goes to her parents home with the new baby spending the first 40 days. As she's new to motherhood, her mother and family members help the new mom with the baby. Also a lot of protein intake is encouraged and food rich in protein is cooked for the mother's fast healing."—Sarah Zohair Shahid, Pakistan

"In Canada, maternity leave is 12 months, which can be split between both parents if wanted. I feel like that time made such a difference for me to establish great sleeping patterns with my child and really bond well. A tax benefit is also paid monthly which some put in savings for a future college fund for the child, it varies and is calculated based on income."—Melissa Leu Hughes, Canada

"Many people in Denmark don't mind leaving the stroller with their sleeping child in it outside a shop or cafe/restaurant or when napping at home in the yard or court yard of their apartment building as long as they can see it and have a monitor in it."—Sarah Broe, Denmark

"Russian babies nap outside, even in winter (properly bundled of course). Extra dose of fresh frosty air. Water (as a drink) is introduced at the age of 3-months-old as opposed to 6-months-old in the USA."—Sasha Durkee, Russia

"In the Netherlands, lots of moms and dads transport their children in special cargo bikes ('bakfietsen'). Nowadays they're even equipped with car seat adaptors so even very young babies can enjoy the bike rides. We have special bike lanes throughout the entire country, and cycling is a very common means of transport here. 🙂I'm sure that to foreigners we look like a bunch of lunatics, but it's a cultural thing."—Anne Jongedijk, Netherlands

"In Uzbekistan, newborn babies aren't allowed to be taken outdoors for 40 days after they are born. People try not to visit them in these 40 days and even if they do, they should come to visit during the day before it is dark outside."—Shohista Yodgorova, Uzbekistan

"In Vietnam, new babies are advised not to be taken outside until 3-months-old. New moms are advised to avoid sunlight and wind, even taking showers. When the baby is one month old, there will be an important anniversary where the parents make prayer to their ancestors, the 13 fairies taking care of the baby with the hope that the baby will be blessed and healthy."—Xuan Ngueyn, Vietnam

"In Mexico, newly born girls' ears are pierced by the doctor receiving the baby the moment they are born. Only at the parents request, of course."—Elda Erika, Mexico

"I'm from Argentina and the differences between sleep routines comparing to the USA are amazing! In Argentina, kids are around you until about 10 p.m. and nap time is voluntary. It was the biggest difference I noticed between both countries once I had kids."—Amalita GB, Argentina

"In Kerala, India we give our kids a speckle of a freshly ground paste of copper, gold, shell, sandalwood, nutmeg and few other herbs for the first three years. It is supposed to build immunity, concentration and digestive ability."—Aparna Vinod, India

"In Uganda, grandparents will help you bathe the baby for the first few months as they welcome you into motherhood."—Anne Gift, Uganda

"In Malaysia, most Chinese mamas will have a confinement lady to help out in the postnatal period immediately after birth (usually for a month or two). There are some old-fashioned rules, like no washing hair for a month and no cold food and drinks are allowed for the mommies."—Christina Chin, Malaysia

"In the UK, brining my child into the world cost me not one penny, thanks to the NHS. I was lucky enough to have no complications and had a room to myself and my husband and two staff on hand when I needed them (early labour they were with someone else who needed them more!). I am incredibly lucky and grateful for the experience I had."—Michelle Zin, United Kindgom

"In Japan, a baby name is to be decided within two weeks from birth, and once it is decided we place a piece of paper with the babies name written usually under a little shinto shrine at home."—Maiko Takahata Suzuki, Japan

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.


"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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