When it comes to parenting, there's no one right way of doing things.
Any mother or father knows that everyone has a different approach to raising our little ones, and as long as we have our kids best interests at heart, that’s really all that matters. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t nice to sometimes get a little bit of parenting inspiration.
And the Duchess of Cambridge is one mum whose parenting style we reckon we can pick up a few tips and tricks from! The royal has welcomed three children with Prince William over the last few years – Prince George, who is now six, Princess Charlotte, four, and Prince Louis, who recently turned one.
She’s also become hugely involved in the subject of early years through her royal work, so it’s no surprise that she’s worked out a few handy tricks for raising children in the best way possible.
So which parenting lessons can we learn from Kate to inspire our own?
Listening and speaking to children on their level
This is something the Duchess is pictured doing regularly. Whenever she’s snapped out and about with George, Charlotte, or even Louis, Kate Middleton makes a point to get down to their level (most of the time), before speaking to them.
According to experts, doing this when speaking to your little’uns helps them to feel safe and listened to, as you’re giving them your full attention.
It even has a name – active listening. By showing your child that you are focused on what they are saying, it can build their confidence, and encourage them to open up and share what they’re feeling.
Of course, stopping what you’re doing and crouching down to your children’s eye level isn’t always possible, but it’s a great tactic to employ if you have the chance!
Spending as much time as possible out in nature
The benefits of spending time outdoors, for both our mental and physical health, have been widely proven in recent years – and it’s something the Duchess of Cambridge takes very seriously.
In the past, she’s revealed that she often hauls her three kids outside rain or shine, to enjoy all the things nature has to offer. Back in 2017, before the arrival of Prince Louis, she explained, “I’ve got such fond memories of being in the garden and being outside from my own childhood, and I’m sharing that with my own children, George and Charlotte, at the moment.”
During a Christmas special TV show with Mary Berry, she also shared how all the things kids are able to do outside provide so many personal benefits.
Kate said, “We grow our own vegetables. We’ve got carrots, beans, beetroot – a massive favourite – Louis absolutely loves beetroot. I think being outside and being in nature is such a great environment for [children] to learn lifelong skills, really. Physical, emotional and cognitive skills. Whether it’s digging, running, boulder-hopping…”
Being there for them as often as you can
With a packed royal schedule and all sorts of important things requiring her attention, the Duchess of Cambridge (to an extent), faces a lot of the same time management issues as us regular parents do.
But she often proves that she and William prioritise being there for their three babies as often as they can be.
Kate has mentioned in the past that she and her husband make a point of doing the school run each morning and afternoon as much as they can. In fact, they’ve even been pictured driving through central London!
Of course, we can’t all dictate our schedules in that same way, and for many parents it just isn’t possible to do the school run every single time.
But it’s an important lesson to apply to everyday life – making the most of the little moments with our kids. Perhaps it means always getting up to make them breakfast, and eating it with them before they go to school and you go off to work. Or, it may mean simply lying in bed with them and reading a story when you return home from a long shift.
Knowing when to discipline them
Although the Duchess is often pictured having fun and smiling with her kiddos, she’s not afraid to lay down the law too.
At her sister Pippa Middleton’s wedding back in 2017, Kate was seen wrangling the little flower girls and page boys – even holding up a finger to ‘shh’ them, as the ceremony began inside the church.
Providing that authority and discipline is – as we all know – a key element of parenting and teaching children to respect people and boundaries.
Sharing the load with friends and family – but also knowing when to draw the line
Recently, Kate has confessed that she agrees with the old adage – it takes a village, when it comes to raising a family.
In a recent speech, she said, “There is a well-known proverb — that it takes a village to raise a child. By coming together, having fun, and experiencing new things, we can all impart lifelong benefits on our children.”
And we couldn’t agree more!
The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge often have her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, babysit their three kids – particularly if they are off on royal tours abroad. George, Charlotte and Louis will regularly stay at their Bucklebury mansion in the Berkshire countryside.
So Kate proves that we should embrace the idea of sharing the parenting with our loved ones, if we can. Often, siblings, parents and grandparents will jump at the chance to spend some extra quality time with the kids.
But, she’s also shown the importance of setting boundaries when it comes to your kids. Reports over the last few years have stated that Kate and William divide special occasions – such as Christmas – between her family and his. The Duchess is happy to shun royal protocol in order to do what she feels is best for her family, and while we’re definitely not royals, it’s an important lesson.
Embracing the idea of not being perfect at parenting
Of all people, you’d expect the Duchess of Cambridge to be pretty much perfect at everything. But that’s not the case – with Kate Middleton herself admitting that she regularly feels the pressure of not living up to the idea of being ‘the best’ parent.
Catherine has not been shy about sharing the fact that she can find being a mother incredibly difficult, but that recognising it and embracing the idea of ‘winging it’ is vital to your mental health.
In a speech, she said, Nothing can really prepare you for you the sheer overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother. You go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual, to suddenly being a mother, first and foremost.
“And yet, there is no rule book, no right or wrong — you just have to make it up and do the very best you can to care for your family. For many mothers, myself included, this can, at times lead to lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance.”
Letting your kids be silly
Finally, Kate Middleton knows that her three children are only kids once – and so she embraces their silly sides – even at more serious formal occasions.
From Princess Charlotte sticking out her tongue at the public, to Prince George shying away from photographers, the Duchess lets her kids be kids – an important parenting lesson.