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.
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.