Meet Dad Niels living in the Netherlands
Please meet this Dad Niels Lieftink who lives in the Netherlands…. Niels had sent me an email a little while back with pics of his home and asked me wheter I would be interested in sharing his story as a full-time with us… of course I said Yes, not many Dads are full-time Dads and not many Dads ask me this question… so enjoy Niels' his story on how he likes to raise his daugthers…
What kind of house do you live in – are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you find lacking or would like to change?
We live in a row house in a new housing estate. We do like it there, the kids go to school in this area. The house is of an average (Dutch) volume. With four children it is quite small. We especially would like more space for storing things.
What is it you like best about living here?
The quietness in the street. The facilities in the area. The large bedrooms in the house and the nice plan of the house
Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?
Yes, we spend a lot of time on that.
Do you keep your children’s play areas very separate or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?
They should have space in every part of the house except for the master bedroom. They are allowed to keep it on the diner table (for example; we will eat with Playmobil in front of us, then) for a few days but then they have to tidy it up.
Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?
We look in magazines like VTwonen, 101 woonideeen, etc. Also blogs and we like to go shopping in cities in Holland (Arnhem, Den Bosch, Amsterdam), to get inspired by shops. We’ve been to Copenhagen as well, also very inspiring.
What are your children’s favorite items in your house?
Their bedrooms, the living room, the bathroom and the diner table.
Some tidying tips? Do your children tidy up after themselves?
We want them to tidy up, and we are strict in that, but it doesn’t go naturally. Now and then they have to do their bedrooms and always there are one or two bags of garbage…
What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go to for shopping?
What's it like to raise a child in your town?
Quiet, safe and cosy.
Who do you consider is a good example for your children?
What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
Visiting family and friends, sometimes by bike. Or, in times of vacation, going out to towns or places to get inspired. Our children like that also.
What is a normal day with your children? What do you do on weekends?
The children are going to school and to their friends. We are working or are at home. Niels (37) works four days as a teacher in a primary school. Josephine (37) works in the town hall, doing administrative work . Loes is 13, she goes to secondary education. Berthe is 11 doing group 7 and Floortje is 9, doing group 5. Than we have Cato, born on the 14th of February this year. The girls have their friends in the town. Berthe likes to play the guitar. Floortje likes jazzballet and playing with playmobil (the horse things especially) In the weekends we like to take time for breakfast, playing, reading etc.
Tell us a funny story, quote or remark one of your children recently made.
When Floortje and a girlfriend were watching the wedding of prince William and Kate, they agreed that Kate was very goodlooking. At the same time they were wondering why such a lady married someone like prince William. Don’t you like him, I asked. No, they said, with faces full of condemnation. He’s getting bold! But I think he’s a very lovely man for her, I said. The outside isn’t the most important thing. Besides that, mummy also married me. Yes, Floortje said, but you are not like that (pointing at the television). I guess I had to take that as a compliment….
Any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?
If you have children in the adoscelent age: Puberbrein Binnenstebuiten by Huub Nelis and Yvonne van Sark.
Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ values?
Children ask for boundaries: confirm them and let them have their pleasures and grieves, but let them, as a adult, know that in some cases it is not the right time for it, or, at least, it is not the right time to show it.
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
If we do, We do all the DIY projects ourselves. Painting walls is the only thing we allow our children to do.
Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
Put large strokes of board or plastic on the floor. Keep children in the place they are working and don’t let them walk around with paint of brushes.
Are you a crafter or DIY person?
What do you do with all the projects your children make at home or in school?
Whe hang them on a board in the hall, or place them in the window. After a while they move to their rooms. We have boxes for all, to keep them in.
How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
With family and friends. Josephine made a special name guirlande for the girls.
Do your children have friends over very often? If yes, what activities would they do?
They have friends over very often. They like to make little jobs (knutselen?) or listening to music on Youtube. They also like going to town, to look in the shops.
What are some favorite games in your home?
Levensweg, I believe it is called Life in English.
What kind of sports do your children like to do and are you very involved?
On this moment there is only one child that is doing sports. Floortje is doing jazzballet. She started only a few weeks ago with it.
Are there musical instruments in your house?
What are all time favorite books for the children?
Floortje and Berthe are tough readers. Every night they read in their beds. Berthe likes ´De olijke tweeling` and Floortje likes books about horses.
How do you get your books? Bookstores? Online?
Do your children read books online? No
Do they go to the library? Yes
What are nice activities you can do with children in your place and what could you recommend when people are visiting?
Go to Koekendaal, a nice park just outside town. Or go the a small lake called Stroombroek to walk there and play. There´s also the castle Slangenburg with woods around it.
What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them too?
They like Pipi Langkous as we did. Also Little Women. For the rest they like to watch all those American ´high school´ movies we don’t like… J
How do they prefer to spend their leisure time?
Reading, drawing, playing with lego and playmobil and playing computer games.
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?
Do you cook together with your children? Does Dad cook?
The children ask more and more if they are allowed to cook. That is ok with us.
Dad likes to cook and expires with several recipes.
What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and without the children?
Denmark (Sjealand, Copenhagen), Holland (Friesland, Zeeland), France (Champagne)
Do you keep some sort of travel journal with the children?
From our last Denmark trip we made a glossy photobook (HEMA.NL) and the children do stick all their souvenirs in a cahier.
What kind of souvenirs can they bring back home?
Mostly some booklets or little decorational things for their rooms.
How do you prepare for a trip, any useful tips?
Spread out the card and show the distance… Buy reading stuff, some candy, a listening book. Bring the portable dvdplaver with us.
What place do your children love to go to?
It is good for them as long as we are all together.
Just some random links Niels would like to share with you. Two design furniture shops in Doetinchem called Voorhuis and Revelman and a great thriftshop were you can find fun vintage and second-hand things, De Opslag . Places he likes in Denmark are Tiger, Illums en Illums Bolighus. And in Copenhagen he really likes the For Frue Kirke: beautiful Scandinavian interior with statues by Thorvaldsen and in this same street Notre Dame is a shop worrth visiting.
Many Thanks Niels Lieftink for sharing your Dad Story with us!