The Duchess of Cambridge has said her parenting inspiration is her “amazing granny” who involved her as a child in arts and crafts, gardening and cooking.
In her first podcast interview, she said she wants to replicate similar experiences with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
The episode examines the Five Big Questions On The Under Fives, a survey launched by Catherine to start a debate about early childhood.
It has had 200,000 responses so far.
Speaking on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast, Catherine told author and host Giovanna Fletcher that the survey aims to ask people “what is it that matters for them in raising their children today.”
“I had an amazing granny who devoted a lot of time to us, playing with us, doing arts and crafts and going to the greenhouse to do gardening, and cooking with us,” she said.
“And I try and incorporate a lot of the experiences that she gave us at the time into the experiences that I give my children now.”
The duchess said her own priorities included providing her children with the “happy home” and “safe environment” she had enjoyed as a child.
She said she is “passionate” about children spending a lot of time outside, adding that it is “so great for physical and mental wellbeing” and laying the foundations for healthy development.
“It’s such a great environment to spend time in, building those quality relationships without the distractions of ‘I’ve got to cook’ and ‘I’ve got to do this’. And actually, it’s so simple,” she said.
‘A generational change’
The month-long online poll, conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of Catherine’s Royal Foundation, aims to “spark a national conversation” on early childhood, Kensington Palace has said.
Launched in January, it is thought to be the biggest survey of its kind and the results are intended to guide the duchess’ future work.
“It’s going to take a long time, I’m talking about a generational change, but hopefully this is the first small step: to start a conversation around the importance of early childhood development,” Catherine said.
“It’s not just about happy, healthy children. This is for lifelong consequences and outcomes.”
Ms Fletcher – who is married to Tom Fletcher from McFly – said Kate seemed “passionate” about the subject and it was “beyond wonderful to sit and talk further about the survey, her work – for which she has so much knowledge, and her own experiences of being a mother”.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, what you have, or where you come from – we’re all trying to do our best with our children while continuously doubting our decisions and wondering if we’re getting it completely wrong. Talking helps unite us all,” she said.
The ‘five big questions’
1. What do you believe is most important for children growing up in the UK today to live a happy adult life? Rank from most important to least important:
- Good physical and mental health
- Good friendships and relationships
- Access to opportunities
- Access to a good education
2. Which of these statements is closest to your opinion?
- It is primarily the responsibility of parents to give children aged 0-5 the best chance of health and happiness
- It is primarily the responsibility of others in society to give children aged 0-5 the best chance of health and happiness
- It is the shared responsibility of parents and others in society to give children aged 0-5 the best chance of health and happiness
- Don’t know
3. How much do you agree or disagree with this statement? The mental health and wellbeing of parents and carers has a great impact on the development of their child(ren)
- Strongly agree
- Tend to agree
- Neither agree nor disagree
- Tend to disagree
- Strongly disagree
4. Which of the following is closest to your opinion of what influences how children develop from the start of pregnancy to age five?
- Mostly the traits a child is born with (i.e. nature)
- Mostly the experiences of a child in the early years (i.e. nurture)
- Both nature and nurture equally
- Don’t know
5. Which period of a child and young person’s life do you think is the most important for health and happiness in adulthood?
- Start of pregnancy to five years
- 5-11 years (primary school)
- 11-16 years (secondary school)
- 16-18 years (further education)
- 18-24 years (young adulthood)
- Don’t know
- All equally important