The Happiest Kids in the World

happiest kidsCalling all stressed-out parents: Relax! Imagine a place where young children play unsupervised, don’t do homework, have few scheduled “activities” . . . and rank #1 worldwide in happiness and education. A place where babies sleep 15 hours a day, teenagers rebel only minimally and parents enjoy an enviable work-life balance.  It’s not a fantasy—it’s the Netherlands!

Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison—an American and a Brit, both married to Dutchmen and raising their kids in the Netherlands—report back on what makes Dutch kids so happy and well adjusted. Is it that dads take workdays off to help out? Chocolate sprinkles for breakfast? Bicycling everywhere?

With a convincing fresh perspective, Acosta and Hutchinson are our guides to the secrets behind Dutch parenting, a distinctly hands-off approach in contrast to that of many American parents.  At a time when American kids face enormous pressure to excel – often at the expense of their happiness – The Happiest Kids in the World is sure to spark lively discussion about parenting practices from across cultures.

Whatever the secret, entire Dutch families reap the benefits, from babies (who sleep 15 hours a day) to parents (who enjoy a work-life balance most Americans only dream of). As Acosta and Hutchison borrow ever-more wisdom from their Dutch neighbors, this much becomes clear: Sometimes the best thing we can do as parents is . . . less!

About the Authors

Rina Mae Acosta is a writer from California currently living in the Netherlands with her Dutch husband and two young sons. She founded the successful parenting blog Finding Dutchland.
Michele Hutchison worked in publishing in Britain before moving to Amsterdam in 2004. She is now a prominent translator of Dutch literature and lives in a traditional Dutch house with her husband and two children.