According to UNICEF, the 3.5 million Dutch children under the age of 18, won the the lottery of life to be born in a country where they are ranked the "happiest children in the world".
This happiness measure considers five criteria, including:-
• material wellbeing
• healthy and safety
• educational wellbeing
• behaviour and risks, and
• housing and environment.
I would suggest the sixth and most important yardstick is that their parents (so says the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, aka, SDSN) are the happiest humans on earth.
If you believe the statistics, and that adults are happier because they have someone to count on, have a perceived freedom to make life choices, and are more generous than the rest of humanity (along with a few other vital points), of course their children should be blissfully frollicking amongst the tulips.
So is it too far a stretch to accept that happy parents produce happy offspring?
Are Dutch mummies happiest because they enjoy the ideal work life balance of all OECD countries? Maybe it's the Dutch happy daddies who play a more equal role in child-rearing by having part-time jobs and being more hands on? Or could it be the regular weekly Oma (grandmother) day where grandparents help out and are more involved in comprehensive childcare and development?
The Dutch education system appears to be less competitive and there is no homework whatsoever for children under the age of 12, who are encouraged to enjoy stress free leanring in a relaxed environment.
I can hear the Tiger Mummies and Daddies protest about the necessary incentive and focus lacking in this concept, and yet Forbes rate The Netherlands as the 11th best country in the world for business and it ranks 12th in total number of milionaires.
Impressive for a small country I say.
I could ramble on quoting studies and numbers and experts who explain the many factors that contribute to happiness. However, from what I know and see, children feel most loved and secure enjoying family time with parents who play games, read, or take a walk with them.
Sharing your time shows your children you care.