Parenting Around the World: Australia


Alright, I know it’s been a crazy few weeks with the holidays sneaking up on us. You probably won’t even have time to read this post, but hopefully it will save until after Christmas.  

This is the fourth installment of my post series Parenting Around the World

Today, we’re talking about parenting in Australia.  

Now, I’ve never been to Australia (it’s on the list), but I do have several Australian friends. They have some history in common with the US, so some aspects of their culture is similar to ours. Some of it is completely different.  

Here are some ways in which Australian parenting is unique.  

Safety conscious, but not overprotective (A Cup of Jo

Have you heard the joke that everything in Australia is trying to kill you? Their wildlife can be vicious.  

Naturally, this aspect of life in Australia has an effect on parenting. Skin cancer is a real problem there, so children are required in school to wear hats and sunscreen. Sun protection is taken quite seriously.  

Depending on where you are in Australia, children may need to be protected from wild animals as well such as magpies, snakes, and kangaroos. Learning about the wildlife in your area and how to protect yourself is a normal part of growing up in Australia. 

Despite all of that, Australian parents tend to be more laid back than American parents when it comes to child safety. They know where the real dangers lie, and aren’t as concerned about a scraped knee or busted lip.  

Everyone learns to swim 

You know that Australia is big on beaches and surfing, but with that comes large waves and riptides. Let’s not forget about sharks either.  

Australian children are taught how to swim early so that they can take the initiative if they are ever facing one of these dangers.  

Outside time is important  

I think I’m seeing a pattern here. It seems like most countries in the world have a bigger focus on outside play time than American culture does. Revolution, anybody?  

Australia tends to have mild winters, so outside play is engaged in year round. Sport and athletics and are a big deal to Australians, so getting children out and active is part of that culture.  

Children are highly encouraged to participate in a variety of sports.  

Going barefoot is acceptable (BlueMilk

In the States, we hurry to buy lots of little shoes for kids so their feet don’t get cold in the winter, or so they don’t get cuts or bruises while learning how to walk.  

Australian parents are much more laid back about shoes and it’s totally normal for kids to go barefoot.  

Read about why going barefoot is actually better for kids learning how to walk

Workplace flexibility 

In my post The Happiness Gap I talked about the current phenomenon in the United States of unhappy parents due to workplace stress. The United States does not have a family focused work culture. This makes raising children difficult for good parents who want to spend enough time with their kids, but also want to make enough money to give them a good home and provide for them.  

Australian parents are fortunate in their workplace flexibility. They receive more vacation time per year than American parents, and are able to spend more time getting to know their children and being actively involved in their lives.  

How does Australian parenting compare to parenting in your home culture? | Mom but not a Mom


Any Australians out there want to add to the list? I’m always eager to learn more about other parenting cultures!  

See how Australian parenting compares to Parenting in the UK,  Parenting in the Philippines, and Parenting in Italy!  

4 thoughts on “Parenting Around the World: Australia

  1. Dawn,

    Loved reading your posts! All of the different parenting styles are so interesting. The links you shared are helpful. I liked the part of the Brits and Aussies not being as forthcoming or open for propriety sake. Truly common. I’m so thankful for the flexibility homeschooling offers with outside play time and even inside free play. I just wish I were less safety conscious like other places. Natural consequence and modeling is the way to go. What about potty training and ages for each place? Common breastfeeding practices? A friend who lives with Kurds told me different mothers will nurse one child – and they would ask an expat permission to feed her baby. Maybe for affection and bonding? Fascinating anyways… As they say cheers for the report! And where would you raise your kids?

    1. I’ll have to address some of those questions in my next post! Good thoughts. Fascinating about the Kurds, too. I think there are a couple cultures that do that, but it certainly isn’t common.

      I would like to raise my kids in several different places so that they have a lot of exposure to different ways of life. But I think once they become teenagers, I would like to keep them in a place with a strong expat community for middle and high school. While it’s definitely important to make friends with kids in other countries, I know from personal experience that no one knows an expat like another expat. Those are the friendships that go really deep and last.

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