Dutch babies calmer, laugh more than American babies

Dutch babies are much more relaxed than American babies, researchers from Radboud University and Washington State University conclude in a joint study. Babies in the Netherlands smile, laugh and like to cuddle more than their American counterparts.

The study focuses on the temperament of babies at 6 and 12 months old. The results of the study was published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

"Nearly 300 parents in the two countries completed a questionnaire about their child's behavior", says researcher Roseriet Beijers of the University of Nijmegen. "We saw clear differences. American children seem a lot busier, they laugh less often and show less cuddle behavior than the Dutch." Beijers suspects that the parenting style of Dutch parents affects the liveliness. "They create peace and regularity. The child eats, plays and sleeps at set times."

American parents focus more on stimulating their baby. "The emphasis there is on a lot of reading and playing with the children to enhance cognitive development."