Parenting in Denmark

The Danes have a concept called hygge. It doesn’t have a literal translation, but it looks a lot like cuddling and is essential for raising happier children. It is creating a space and an environment that makes your home the best place in the world, a place of affection, of accepting each other and having fun together. The concept has become fashionable and candles, paintings and pillows are sold to make hygge. The truth is that it goes beyond that, it is considered an emotional concept rather than a physical one. «When you enter a hygee place, just like when you enter a house and take off your coat, here you would take away the stress, the earrings and the worry.» It is about, he explains, living in the present moment and valuing it with your children and family. It is making the conscious effort to give a small part of yourself to your family. How to create it?

  1. Give it a time and place. Knowing that you have a limit helps everyone to be present in mind and body.
  2. Light candles. Candles are a staple in the Danish environment. It is the sign that it is hygge time and they create an atmosphere of intimacy and closeness.
  3. Turn off all your devices: no TV, no phone, tablet or computer. Music can be part of hygge.
  4. The drama is left out. There will be another time to suffer from the news or be distressed. Hygge is a safe space to relax with your family.
  5. Think about the things that make you feel grateful to have your family, and what you are grateful for in each one. Feel the love you have for them and the love they have for you.
  6. It’s time to play a board game, sing something, cook something. Once you stop feeling like he’s half geek, you start to enjoy it a lot.
  7. Tell your children stories about when you were a child, what you enjoyed, what you did with your parents, tell them about their grandparents.

Children in Denmark may not be able to read until they are six or seven years old, but instead they instinctively learn solidarity, cooperation and empathy almost before they can walk. Thanks to these outdoor programs, they also face their fears – of the unknown, of frustration, of falls – and begin to solve problems on their own long before the overprotected children of the city.

Photo by Markus Winkler on
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