Photo: Robert Tardio (Tiger!Tiger!)

The grass is always greener on the other parenting side, or so it seems. From Scandinavians leaving babies to nap in the snow to the French kids eating everything, it seems that every culture has some method of doing parenting differently. German parents are no exception, with what can only be described as a free range style. That doesn’t mean it’s better or works for everyone, but as you’ve probably told your 4 year-old every night at dinner: try it, you might like it. That’s exactly what one American mom did and the results might surprise you.

As Sara Zaske explains to Time, parents are typically a little looser in Deutschland than they are in the US. They value independence and responsibility in their kids and nurture those skills by being the total opposite of helicopter moms. While you might not agree with every aspect of the German parenting style, like letting kids light their own pyrotechnics display as Zaske learned, (you’ve seen enough Fourth of July PSAs), she argues that there are a few ideas worth considering.

Go easy on academics.
According to Zaske’s experience, German kindergartens aren’t focused on academics. Learning to read is a rite of passage that doesn’t usually occur until first grade. What does holding off on the books do for German kids? It makes them smarter apparently. A 2012 assessment completed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that German teens scored high above the international average in reading, math, and science.

Celebrate school.
While Germans might not push their young academically, they do like to make the milestone of starting school a special occasion. Heading off to elementary school can sometimes be an overwhelming moment for both kids and parents, but instead of feeling anxious Germans make it a happy occasion by having a major celebration, complete with candy and gifts, at the start of the school year. What a better way to get kids excited about learning than to throw a huge party?


Get outside.
For Germans a little chilly weather is no excuse to hunker down inside with an iPad. No matter how cold it gets they hit the playground for fun and physical activity. Finding a way to burn off that crazy kid energy is a great idea anytime, anywhere.

Would you incorporate German parenting style into your own? Tell us your opinion in the comments!