A simple practice that leads to happiness.
Denmark has been consistently voted one of the happiest countries in the world for more than 40 years. It has a stable government, high-quality healthcare, great education, yummy pastries, and sweet traditions — which surely helps boost the mood of the country, but one there’s something else that regulates their family lives — and that’s the simple practice of “Hygge”, which focuses on togetherness.
Here are some simply core ingredients to parenting with Hygge in mind:
- Quality, low-key time with the people you love
- A sense of homeyness
- Bonding with your children in a laid-back way
- Joy of being together
- A safe, comfortable, judgment-free zone of togetherness
- “We” time not “me” time
- Time spent with our kids with no distractions so we can really focus on them
- A cozy atmosphere
- Leaving all personal drama, controversy, and uncomfortable topics at the door
Iben Sandahl, author of The Danish Way of Parenting: A Guide to Raising The Happiest Kids in the World, shares some dos and don’ts.
DON’T say “Now we’re really going to hygge” – there will be too many expectations that can block the mere presence of it. Hygge is an intangible concept, something that occurs in the moment and is therefore difficult to stage.
DO leave personal drama at the door. There are other times to focus on any problems you may be having. Hygge is about creating a safe place to relax with your family.
DON’T use iPhones or the iPad. Turn them off or put them away. By giving children your full attention, you make the time afterwards much easier as they are then usually ready to do something without you interacting.
DO make it a daily/weekly routine. It makes children feel safe and they will know that it is associated with something nice and comfortable.
DO make an effort to create a nice cozy atmosphere. Maybe light some candles, play a game or bake a cake. Part of the ‘hygge’ phenomenon starts with the preparations you do together.