5 Ways to Bring “Hygge” into Parenting
Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’) sounds like a buzz word doesn’t it without much meaning? But it’s actually a Danish concept which describes ‘cosy togetherness’. Denmark regularly tops the World Happiness Report despite their cold weather, unreliable summer and dark days in the winter. So what are they doing differently?
Here Rebecca Palmer Smalltalk contributor explains how you can bring a little bit of hygge into your life with your children:
Hygge is all about being present and in the moment with family and friends and it has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. The official website of Denmark describes hygge as the “simple and good parts of life together with people you care about”. As humans, we are social beings so isolation does not sit well with us. As we face a bleak winter in a middle of a pandemic it can be easy to slip into depression and anxiety with the cold days, dark nights and the concern that the festive period will not contain all of our beloved traditions. It is the perfect time to embrace hygge in all areas of our lives, including parenting.
Massage & Loving Touch
Get warm and cosy, dim the lights (use lamps) and light scented candles. After bath time, spend some time massaging your baby or child. It boosts the love hormone ‘oxytocin’ in both you and your child. It is such a loving activity which aids bonding and the bonus is that it helps relax you both and thanks to the sleepy hormone ‘melatonin’ it promotes good quality sleep too.
Yoga is a brilliant and mindful exercise and when you add in children, it becomes playtime too. Don’t take the practice seriously but have fun with it. Become tunnels, animals and fly off on a magic carpet. Laugh together and stretch together. There are some fabulous first yoga books and YouTube has some great children’s yoga videos for you to join in with. You will be feeling hyggeligt in no time. Check out Amanda Ashy’s 8 Yoga poses to practice with your kids.
Wrap up warm & take a walk
Hygge doesn’t just have to be about being cosy indoors but you can wrap up in your favourite knit and get out in the fresh air. It’s been scientifically proven that babies sleep well in the fresh air and you’ll often see babies taking their naps in their prams outside. Although you might not want to leave your baby at the bottom of the garden, getting outside even when the wind is blowing will help you embrace the happy hormone endorphins.
This isn’t Danish but the Japanese practice of nature therapy, walking through a forest. However, the mindful essence of walking through the trees, noticing the trees and the forest floor as you breathe deeply is absolutely the embodiment of hygge.
Turn off the Tech
Turning off the phones, tablets and screens can help you feel more connected to your family. Taking part of the day to place your phone in the drawer and being truly present with your children will create that cosy togetherness. Baking together if the children are old enough, or playing a board game will create calmness and a sense of togetherness. If your children are babies, take the time to play on the floor, play some tummy time games, fly like superman or place baby in the sling and move and dance to your favourite music.
Happy “Hygge” parenting
You can find out more here and read more baby advice from Rebecca Palmer: