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Scandinavian parenting techniques to try this summer

by FAMILY talk

It is universally understood that parenting can be a challenge – with the unconditional love and joy come the tantrums, the discipline, the sleepless nights and the constant worry: ‘am I doing this right?’ This summer, if you are finding yourself at your wits end and in need of some new techniques to try, why not look to Scandinavia for guidance?

Nordic countries always rank very highly on the World Happiness Report, and their parenting style is designed to foster long-lasting skills and competencies.

Below, Sten Kirkbak, Norwegian Co-Founder of XPLORA the watch phone designed to keep children safe when out and about, shares some fundamental principles of Scandinavian parenting:

There is no such thing as bad weather

In Scandinavia, we live by the expression ‘there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes’. This means that, even if it’s raining, cold and windy, we will still do our best to spend as much time outside as possible. Children are born adventurers and, in the Nordics, where summer can be fleeting, we firmly believe that the elements should not get in the way of discovering the great outdoors. Not only does fresh air and the freedom to roam in a large outdoor space tire children out, making bedtime that little bit easier, it also means that they become less reliant on technology, get plenty of exercise and are given the chance to really use their imaginations.

Getting messy is good!

Scandinavian parents believe that children should spend their younger years playing as much as possible, which of course, means getting messy. We encourage our children to get muddy, embrace nature and get creative. You’ll often see children jumping in puddles, making mud pies, going on scouting expeditions and taking farm trips to explore the local agriculture. Science further supports this, as getting muddy will expose children to bacteria, which works to boost their immune system, and even reduce the risk of developing certain allergies.

Allow for freedom

Just like all parents, Scandinavians worry about their children’s safety, but we also encourage them to practice being independent to prepare them for adulthood. We let them explore nature and travel to and from school independently, whenever possible. This makes them more responsible and as a result, more aware of what is and isn’t safe. Allowing children to have this much freedom can be challenging for parents, which is why devices like the XPLORA watch phone are a great compromise – they allow parents to contact their child without giving the child access to social media or the internet before they are ready.

If you are unsure of where to begin with giving your child more freedom and responsibility, then start by building your, and your child’s, confidence slowly. For example, allow them to walk to and from the local park with a group of friends, but ask them to call you when they leave, so you know roughly when to expect them back. This way, the child won’t feel scared and lonely, and you will have the reassurance that your child isn’t on their own, and have an idea or where they are on their journey.

Encourage creativity and positivity

While this might seem unusual to some parents, in Scandinavian countries, school doesn’t start until the child is 6-7 years old. We believe that the early years should be spent developing the imagination and the child’s social skills, leaving the academics until they are ready. We also don’t believe in physical punishment, in fact, the Nordic countries were the first to make spanking a child illegal. Instead, we explain to our children what they do wrong and encourage them to learn from the experience. While it can be frustrating when your child misbehaves or makes a silly mistake, try to remain calm and clearly explain to them what they did wrong, why this isn’t acceptable and, most importantly, give them guidance on how to behave in the future in order to avoid being told off.

Lead by example

Your actions are always more important than your words. For example, when explaining to your child that active play is more important than spending time on the phone or tablet, remember to do the same yourself. Spend time with your child and don’t get distracted by electronic devices. I often see parents on the playground ‘playing’ with their children while in reality, they’re just scrolling through Instagram and not paying attention. Let your children know you are there for them and make sure to spend quality time with them!

For more information and special offers on Xplora watches click here

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Smalltalk Magazine

Since 2005 Smalltalk Magazine is a printed A4 information magazine aimed at parents, distributed throughout the Yorkshire region. Printed 6 times a year it is distributed free to over 300 parent-friendly locations in the area. Full of useful and informative articles about family life.

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