1. Treat your bike like a minivan. Dutch dads manage to balance a ridiculous number of kids on two wheels in every configuration you can imagine. Why stop at children? Add on your groceries, a backpack, your dog, five weeks worth of paper recycling, and a couple of toys and books for good measure.
2. Speaking of balancing acts, take a page out of the Dutch-dad handbook and keep work and homelife in equilibrium. About 25 percent of Dutch men work part-time and quite a few take a “papadag” or “papa’s day,” staying home with the kids alone one day during the week. This gives the women more flexibility with their work schedule and gives the dads regular quality time with their children.
3. Not sure how to accessorize? Throw on a baby! They go with anything! Dutch men may have a bad rap when it comes to fashion, but they sure know how to wear kids well. It is nothing unusual to see a dad with a baby slung across his chest, a toddler tucked into a backpack carrier and/or pushing a stroller down the street.
4. Put your kids to work! Power tools, gardening shears, kitchen knives: Dutch dads don’t shy away from getting their (often very young) kids involved in the handyman chores around the house. Don’t worry, the fathers are right there to supervise so there aren’t (many) injuries.
5. Teach your kids to cycle. It isn’t a big transition to go from being toted around on a bike to riding one, so many Dutch kids are cycling by the age of four. And, once they are a little older, they are allowed to cycle around the neighbourhood or to school independently. An active lifestyle is part of why the majority (one study cites 79%) of Dutch men are satisfied with their health.
6. Give your kids space. Unsupervised play is a staple of childhood in the Netherlands. And Dutch moms also encourage a mix of freedom and responsibility, making for a unified co-parenting team.
7. Don’t let a little hail slow you down. Dutch kids are tough, athletic and weatherproof. Even in the rain, sleet or snow, Dutch dads bundle up their kids and get them out in the crisp air.
8. Explore the outdoors. Playgrounds, parks and gardens in Amsterdam are teeming with solo dads watching their kids run wild. Rosy cheeks, skinned knees, tousled hair, big smiles: these are hallmarks of Dutch kids (and dads).
9. Meeting your friends at a bar? Bring your little ones along! Every now and again, glance over at the chaos your children are causing and give the wait staff a “kids will be kids” look. Then order another drink.
10. Don’t hold back when it comes to knuffels (cuddles). Dutch dads can’t get enough knuffels. It just might be possible that the tallest men in the world (an average height of 183 centimeters!) also have the biggest hearts.