Anyone who has children knows that bedtime rituals that work are worth their weight in gold. Bathing, diaper changing, feeding, cuddling, looking at books, singing songs, that’s what it looks like in children’s rooms when we put the offspring to bed. Our parents did exactly the same thing and so we continue the tradition. And if we’re lucky, the children will fall asleep quickly and blissfully.
What is customary in our country is completely foreign to other cultures. Here is a summary of what other countries are betting on when they go to bed.
In India, children decide for themselves when and where they sleep
In India, it is not only the parents who care about the well-being of the children. Several generations often live under one roof, which means that the one who is at home accompanies the child to sleep. The child decides when and where the child sleeps. And because Indians take their offspring with them everywhere, it often happens that Indian children easily fall asleep even at loud weddings. When things do get difficult, Indian parents rely on the gentle fanning of the wind in the baby’s face. In some families, the babies are also traditionally massaged.
Absolute silence in Japan
Japanese babies are living the baby anarchy dream. So it is completely normal for them to determine their sleeping and eating rhythm themselves right from the start. So there are no fixed mealtimes or bedtimes. The babies either fall asleep while breastfeeding or are gently rocked from left to right and vice versa until the sixth month. From the sixth month then also from top to bottom and from bottom to top.
The vertical rocking is very slow, especially at the beginning. Japanese parents are sure that gently patting their backs will help their little ones fall asleep. In contrast to the Indians, the Japanese attach great importance to rest when sleeping. It is only whispered and the baby is reassured with a quiet, gentle voice.
Party atmosphere before going to bed in Ivory Coast
Party mood on the Ivory Coast: Here, children are lulled to sleep with loud singing and rhythmic tapping movements on the back or chest. Works great and makes tired children even more tired. By the way, everyone who is at home always sings along.
Lots of physical contact in Peru
In Peru, children are carried on their backs until they are two or three years old. When the mommies work in the fields, even all day long. So it happens that the babies/children always sleep with their mothers and enjoy a lot of physical contact. Incidentally, Peruvians do not believe in letting their babies cry. When the little one cries, it is comforted, nursed and carried around. It sleeps when it is tired.
In Finland, parents prefer quiet and darkened rooms
While people on the Ivory Coast sing like crazy, Finnish parents rely on silence and darkened rooms right from the start. Babies are always laid down to sleep and never carried around. It is important that fixed bedtimes are introduced from birth. The aim is to teach the children a rhythm from an early age. Babies get stuffed animals to sleep on. Of course, the same applies here: there are no rules without exceptions. When the baby cries, it is picked up, comforted and sometimes rocked to sleep.
Family beds in Poland
In Poland, most parents rely on family beds. Babies often sleep with mum and dad from birth and don’t even need their own bed. But before they are put into the big, cozy bed, the children are rocked to sleep and sung about. The little ones are the focus of the whole family – they determine everything. Grandmothers also play an important role: they pass on their knowledge to the new mothers.