Sick of hearing unsolicited parenting advice? Next time a girlfriend, coworker or your mother-in-law criticizes your child's bedtime, remind them that kids in Spain go to bed at 11 p.m.! From 24/7 sans-diaper babies to dipping babies in ice baths, check out these parenting tactics from around the world. Whether you choose to follow them is your prerogative, but a little worldly insight never hurts!
1. Spit at your baby. In Greece, it's custom to spit at your baby three times in order to ward off evil spirits, bad luck, and the evil eye. If that sounds crazy to you, the Wolof people in Mauritania do the same, but for different reasons. They believe that saliva can retain words, so they spit blessings onto their babies faces and ears, then rub it in.
2. Give your baby an ice bath. Mayan mothers in Central America dunk their babes in ice cold water to relieve them of heat rash and promote healthful sleep. Prepare your eardrums for the anguish of a screaming baby, moms! But chances are the Mayan babies feel better afterwards.
3. Bali babies defy gravity. OK, not quite, but in Bali, babies cannot touch the ground until they reach three months of age, in order not to compromise a baby's purity by touching unclean ground. When the baby reaches three months old, the family will hold a ceremony in which his or her feet touch the ground for the first time. Go, baby, go!
4. Send your 3-year-old to overnight camp. German tots are sent away to overnight camp as young as three-and-a-half! It's a springtime custom called Kitafahrten to whisk your child to a rural camp where they play freely outside, swim, carve wood (with knives!), and learn all around life skills.
5. No bedtime! Whatever you do, don't let your kids find out that children in Spain are put to bed as late as 11 p.m.! It's common to take a siesta in the middle of the work day, though, so kids in Madrid may wind up getting the same amount of sleep as your children, just at different times. The verdict is still out on a late bedtime, however, because researchers have found evidence of a late bedtime hampering academic performance.
6. Diapers? Nah. Children as young as six months in rural parts of China and India are encouraged to go sans diaper. Instead, they wear garments called kai dang ku, special pants with an opening in the crotch... aka they can, erm, relieve themselves wherever and whenever they want. When caregivers notice need-to-go clues (touching or pulling on genitals), they help the baby squat over the toilet and whistle or make hissing noises to encourage the baby go. Certainly not a foolproof plan, but it means babies are usually potty trained months, if not years, before American babies.
7. Aka dads are so hands-on, they'll offer their babies a nipple. While mothers are the primary caretakers of the children in the Aka tribe in Africa, fathers are pretty darn hands-on. So hands-on that while Mom is away, Dad will offer a nipple to fussing baby. Now that's some fatherly love!
>> Read more: 14 Lessons Every Mother Should Teach Her Daughter