Kate Middleton's story might be the closest thing the world has ever seen to a real life fairy tale: a beautiful but "common" girl meets her handsome prince, they fall in love, and then they get married and live happily ever after. For Kate, that happily ever after has so far included two gorgeous little children— one of whom is likely to be the King of England some day.
Parenting in the public eye can't be easy, and that pressure must be a million times more intense when you're raising two royal babies. Every move you make is dissected and judged and discussed ad nauseam, and everyone has something to say about your choices. But Kate manages to make it all look pretty effortless. I suspect that her "normal", non-royal upbringing is playing a significant role in the way she's raising her children now, and so far it seems like she's doing a pretty great job— both Prince George and Princess Charlotte seem to be perfectly happy and well-behaved little royals (and we can't forget charming and good-looking, too!).
Here are 15 ways to parent like Kate Middleton and raise some little princes or princesses of your own.
15 Make Play Dates
Thanks to Kate, Prince George has been a pro at playdates since he was at least 8 months old. Photographers caught the cheeky little guy trying to steal toys from another baby when he went on a special play date in New Zealand back in 2014, one of his earliest public appearances. He was back at it again in 2016, this time joined by baby sister Charlotte at a kid's bash at Canada's Government House. Though the two playdates made for some pretty adorable royal photo ops, they also have other great benefits for the kids. Play dates can help kids learn to make new friends, work on the social skills, and even improve their language skills. I bet George and Charlotte go on plenty of playdates with no paparazzi in sight.
14 Take Tons Of Family Pictures
Moms know that the baby years go by way too quickly (even though there are plenty of days that seem to drag on forever because your kids are just driving you insane). One way to hang on to some of the magic of this time is take tons of pictures. Kate and her little royal family will have no shortage of photos to look back on George and Charlotte's childhoods— she has happily arranged portrait sessions with world-renowned photographers like Mario Testino, who snapped the photos at Princess Charlotte's baptism ceremony in July 2015. Even if professional quality pictures are a bit out of your price range, you'll love being able to look back on photos of your family someday if you snap tons of them now. Just make sure you manage to step in front of the camera for a few, too.
13 Keep Up Family Traditions
Though Kate never got a chance to meet her late mother-in-law, she's kept Princess Diana's memory alive in so many different ways. When it comes to fashion, many of her outfit choices have seemed to be a nod to the deceased royal. Both made their first public appearances after giving birth wearing baby blue dresses (perhaps in honor of their baby boys). And when Kate chose the red number that Prince George is wearing in the picture above, she was surely thinking of a strikingly similar outfit that Diana had once dressed in William in when he was around the same age. The nods to Diana go beyond fashion choices, however. Will and Kate honored her when they decide to give their daughter the full name of Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.
12 Honor The Grandparents
The little prince and princess have quite the extended family, but Kate seems to make sure George and Charlotte spend quality time with both their royal relatives and their "commoner" grandparents. The tikes have been spotted spending Christmas in Kate's hometown of Bucklebury, England and heading to church with her parents Michael and Carol Middleton. Just like most regular moms, Kate seems to have decided to alternate holidays between both families— she and Will have spent many holidays with Queen Elizabeth at her Sandringham estate in Scotland, so fair is far. But she's also made sure that George and Charlotte are present for major events with the rest of the royals, like the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony at Buckingham Palace— a massive public celebration of their great-granny's birthday.
11 Be Consistent
Kate doesn't let jetting all over the world and making public appearances in front of adoring crowds get in the way of her children's nap schedule— because as every mom knows, there's usually hell to pay when an overtired toddler is thrown off their routine. While visiting Australia with a 9-month-old baby George in 2014, a royal visit to the local zoo was apparently pushed back by about an hour because it interfered with the little prince's nap time. It may seem extreme to rearrange a schedule just to let him sleep, but could you imagine the headlines if a cranky, sleepy George had thrown a massive tantrum at the zoo? So not worth the risk. He was reportedly in a great mood once he woke up, and behaved like a model baby.
10 Listen To Your Kid
Kate may be one of the most famous and glamorous women in the world, but that doesn't mean she's above negotiating with a toddler. The Duchess has been photographed several times crouching down in her gorgeous dresses and expensive heels to talk to her children, especially when they seem to be on the verge of a meltdown. Prince William seems to follow his wife's lead in this regard, and has allegedly been chastised by his grandmother the Queen for stooping down to see eye to eye with little George. The royal couple seems to care more about open communication with their kids than sticking to what may be proper decorum in pubic, and their kids will surely benefit from that as they get older— experts say listening to your kid can make them better behaved and more trusting.
9 Tackle Those DIY Projects
As we mentioned, William and Kate have the world's best photographers at their beck and call. After all, who'd pass up the chance to take portraits of one of the world's most popular (not to mention good-looking) families? But Kate doesn't always go that route, instead opting to take some of the family's photos herself. Like the one of Charlotte above, these pictures inevitably end up splashed on magazine covers across the world, and you'd have no idea that they weren't taken by a trained professional. Like moms everywhere, Kate seems to know that if you want it done right, sometimes you just gotta do it yourself. If the little princess is like most kids her age, Kate probably snapped a couple thousand outtakes before she got a keeper.
8 Let Them Explore The World
The life of a royal may seem like a pampered existence (and it probably is, for the most part), but there are some obligations that come along with the position that can be quite grueling. Will and Kate have taken their kids all over the world with them while making public appearances and doing charity events. They've traveled as a family to places like Australia, Canada, and the Caribbean, even though as anyone who's done it before can tell you, traveling with young kids is kind of the worst. They might be flying first class, but even baby princes and princesses get bored, tired, cranky, and jet-lagged when they're traveling internationally. Still, Will and Kate seem to tough it out for the same reasons many of us do— it allows family bonding, it exposes their kids to different places and cultures, and occasionally, it's probably even fun.
7 Introduce Them To Charity
Prince George and Princess Charlotte may be too young right now to join their parents on their charitable outings, but it's easy to see that both Will and Kate are setting awesome examples. Kate's schedule is particularly stuffed with events that raise both awareness and funds for good causes, as she's spoken out on issues like preventing bullying, children's mental and physical health, and combatting drug addiction and alcoholism. And of course, she's also famously volunteered her time as a scout leader, getting down and dirty in the great outdoors to teach kids survival skills like first-aid and fire-starting. When the little prince and princess are old enough someday to start giving back to their communities and doing charity work themselves, Kate will make an excellent role model.
6 Give Them Plenty of Affection
While the older generations of the British royal family may be known for their stiff upper lips, both Kate and William have engaged in plenty of public displays of affection with their kids. From hand holding to hugs to snuggles, they're not shy about letting their kids know how much they love them. It's also another way the couple is honoring the late Princess Diana— she was also famously affectionate with her two young sons. Expressing your love is great for the kids, too. Experts say parents who show lots of affection are giving their kids life-long benefits, like reducing anxiety, boosting self-esteem, improving their grades, and decreasing the chances of any future behavior problems. Sounds perfect for the royal babies who'll spend their whole lives in the public eye.
5 Get A Pet
Is there anything cuter than a boy and his dog? This photo of George and Lupo just might be a contender for all time most adorable picture, in my opinion (even though it drew a lot of flak on the internet from people who say that George should not be sharing that ice cream). Will and Kate got Lupo before they had kids (perhaps as a practice run?) but their little prince seems to have made fast friends with his furry older brother. Growing up with a dog can actually have a ton of great benefits for a kid— it's credited with everything from make them more physically fit, more emotionally sensitive, and even smarter. Time will tell if George and Charlotte get those same effects from Lupo, but my money is on yes.
4 Don't Be Too Hard On Yourself
Millions of people all over the world might see Kate as a perfect princess, wife, and mom, but despite her charmed life she's not immune to the same struggles the rest of us go through— especially when it comes to motherhood. Though she and her adorable little ones are always seen looking perfect and adorably happy, Kate has opened up about how hard being a mother is. She's said it can sometimes be "overwhelming" and "isolating" and has confessed to feeling a bit lonely at times after having her children. Pretty much every mom out there can probably identify with those feelings, and hopefully take a page out of Kate's playbook when it comes to handling those emotions: recognize that they're common and normal, and don't feel guilty about it.
3 Accept Help
Kate seems to be a loving and hands on mom to her kids. But with her royal duties to attend to, she's taken on a full-time nanny. Maria Borrallo has been with the family since George was a baby, living with them full time and even accompanying them on overseas trips. Having a full time nanny is a luxury that the vast majority of us could never even dream of, but hiring a babysitter or mother's helper is usually pretty realistic. Many moms refuse to let anyone else watch their kids, sometimes because they're too paranoid and sometimes simply because they fear they'll be judged as lazy moms who can't take care of their kids solo. But letting other people help you with your kids is not at all about being lazy. As Kate demonstrates, it's about keeping your life in balance.
2 Don't Forget Your Own Passions
As a wife, mom, and member of the royal family, Kate's schedule is obviously beyond jam-packed. But even though she has tons of responsibilities and obligations that keep her busy around the clock, she still makes time to pursue her own interests and passions. Kate, an art lover who majored in art history while attending St. Andrew's University in Scotland with Will, apparently doesn't let her high-profile status stop her from enjoying a good museum visit. Back in 2012, she apparently was able to sneak into an art museum without being recognized (during an after hours visit, no less) to check out an exhibit of the works of painter David Hockney. She's also become a patron of some of the United Kingdom's most important museums, tying her work and her passion for art together.
1 Make Time For Yourself, Too
Kate might be one of the world's most famous moms, but so far she hasn't seemed to have lost her own identity (as so many mothers sadly do). In addition to exploring her own interests and projects, she also takes time away from the kids. She and William travel all over the world for both work and play, and while George and Charlotte have racked up plenty of frequent flyer miles already, they don't always get to go along for the ride. While it can be really difficult to spend time away from your children, I'm willing to bet that Kate knows it can actually be better for everyone—the kids get to bond with the loved ones taking care of them at home, and mom and dad get to reconnect and recharge.
Sources: Daily Mail, Hello!, E! Online, People