Monday, April 14, 2014

Bringing up Baby in Czech Republic (1)

We're still bringing up baby in CZ but going all over Europe, we're all about international and multicultural. Everyday I get to spot cultural differences in child rearing or parenting as they say.

Generally Czech parents are quite cool with their kids. All the time I see kids playing without supervision in supermarkets while parents are concentrated on something or other, two rows away.  But at the same time, parents here are very concerned with their kids. Mums stay at home for 3 years and they think this is a very short time, the child is not ready to separate from his mum and go to kindergarten. They should ask French mums, their babies go to creche at 3 months.

Because parents are so concerned, kids of all ages have lots of activities. And they find it natural, not the result of the parents frustrations over not having had the same opportunities (they probably did) or need to compete. Kids do a lot of sports, spend a lot of time outside, either with parents or teachers. In kindergarten they learn a lot of basics like drawing and cutting paper but also dancing and music.

One great thing about having a kid here is that you can go to the pub or restaurant with your rugrat and you don't have to worry about people smoking or the kid getting bored. Most places here have a kid's corner full of toys, crayons and distinct non smokers' area. We went to a pizzeria that had a huge playground, trampoline, castle, small bikes plus changing tables at the gents as well and the pizza place down on our street has only 6 tables but there is a small place for the wee ones and a high chair. I even heard about a cinema in Prague which has special sessions for parents with kids: they let the light on so you can keep an eye on the children running around  or breastfeed and change the smaller ones, while still enjoying the latest Hollywood comedy.

There are also parents support groups available in most big cities and special cafés where parents go to chat while kids go to play. There are a lot of these places and some clubs have activities like swimming or gymnastics. Some will even take care of your kids while you party the New Year away. Of course, if you trust to let your kid with others and if you don't have grand parents available.

Speaking of grand parents, they are usually the ones with the weekend house where the child can discover nature and breathe some fresh air. They also pick up the kids from different activities after the mother started working again. Pretty much average babicka and dedecek. We don't have the luxury of having our parents around as much as we'd like but we appreciate the help they give us and the days, sometimes weeks they spend here with their grandson. In the future, maybe, we will relocate a willing grandmother.

Next part will be mostly about medical care and I will publish it on Wednesday. Stay tuned.

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