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5 Lessons in French Parenting From Bébé Day by Day

Feb 25 2013 - 10:14am

If you happened to read and agree with Pamela Druckerman's bestselling Bringing Up Bébé [1], an amusingly poignant memoir on the French approach to parenting, you'll be as happy as we were to learn that she's written a follow-up.

Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting [2] serves as a how-to guide, breaking down the lessons that Druckerman has embraced as an American mother living in Paris. From pregnancy to feeding to maintaining your sense of self, the book is broken down into 10 sections, each offering witty observations that Druckerman believes we could all benefit from if we integrated their wisdom into our own lives.

It's a quick and entertaining read that will make you feel like it's OK to relax a bit when it comes to defining yourself as a mother. Until you get your hands on a copy, here are five of our favorite lessons learned from the French maman.

No. 32: Everyone Eats the Same Thing

"In France, children don't decide what they'll have for dinner. There are no choices or customizations. There's just one meal, the same one for everyone. It's safe to try this at home."

No. 50: Back Off at the Playground

"French parents believe that once a child can walk on his own and safely climb up the slide, their job is to watch from the sidelines as he plays. At French playgrounds, you don't see parents narrating a child's every move, going down the slide behind their kids, or automatically leaping to their child's defense in every dispute. They give him a chance to work out conflicts on his own."

No. 75: Show Kids That You Have a Life Apart From Them

"It's not enough for French mothers to have pleasures and interests apart from their children. They also want their kids to know about these things. They believe it's burdensome for a child to feel that she's the sole source of her mother's happiness and satisfaction."

No. 81: Your Baby Doesn't Replace Your Husband

"He's cuddly, he's adorable, and your mother loves him. But your child shouldn't permanently nudge your partner out of the picture. 'The family is based on the couple. If it exists only through children, it withers,' a French psychologist explains."

No. 20: Do "The Pause"

"We know that babies often cry when they're learning to connect their sleep cycles. We also know that they can make a noise like an angry frog and yet still be asleep. So from the time the baby is a few weeks old, pause a bit when he cries at night. You are waiting to see if, this time, your baby will have a breakthrough moment and plunge into the next cycle on his own, without anyone's help. If you immediately rush in and pick him up, he won't have a chance to develop this skill."

Source: Flickr user Lisa Rosario Photography [3]

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