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Dutch Children May Be the Happiest in the World

Research has shown that children in the Netherlands may be the happiest in the world. According to a 2020 UNICEF report based on data from 41 countries worldwide, Dutch children had the highest mental well-being and excelled in areas such as health, academics, and social skills. At the age of 15, 90% of Dutch children stated that they were satisfied with their lives, in contrast to 71% in the US, 62% in Japan, and only 53% in Turkey. Moreover, 94% of children in the Netherlands said they had good family relationships, compared to fewer than 70% in Bulgaria.

According to Rina Mae Acosta, co-author of The Happiest Kids in the World: How Dutch Parents Help Their Kids (and Themselves) by Doing Less, Dutch children have good relationships with both their parents, who spend a lot of time with them. The Netherlands has the shortest average workweek among nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), at just 29.5 hours, compared to the OECD average of 37 hours. Most Dutch men and women work a four-day workweek, and many fathers spend their free weekdays with their children.

Another important factor contributing to Dutch children's happiness is that they are encouraged to share their opinions and negotiate with their parents. Child development expert Amanda Gummer noted that Dutch education focuses on getting children excited about learning, rather than just achieving high exam scores.


Could you share some of your childhood activities that you enjoyed doing with your parents?

As a teenager, did you ever have to negotiate with your parents? If so, can you share some examples?

What were your hobbies and interests when you were 15 years old?

During your teenage years, which school subjects were your favorites?

Abigail Van Buren said, "If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money." What do you think about this statement?


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