With Denmark having been consistently declared one of the happiest countries, the rest of the world has been trying to unlock the secret to all that Danish joie de vivre.
At any rate, many who sought have zeroed in on the fascinating concept and philosophy that is hygge.
Atmosphere of Hygge
Hygge – pronounced hoo-ga – is a word that has been enthusiastically floated in lifestyle-themed conversations both online and offline.
What exactly is hygge? Literally, it means “to cozy around together.” Conceptually, it’s all about spending low-key, quality time with your loved ones. According to Pinterest, hygge is a warm bath, a crackling fireplace, a cup of tea, thick books, et cetera. It’s all so lovely and cozy.
Nonetheless, contrary to what many believe, hygge isn’t a lifestyle; it’s a feeling. When you create a warm and cozy physical space, it’s not hygge until you and your loved ones find a comfortable and welcoming psychological space in it.
Gains from Hygge
It’s good and well that childless adults can enjoy reading a book by candlelight, tuck their fuzzy socked-feet under them, and sip hot cocoa at intervals, but suggest this picture to the mother of an inquisitive toddler, and she’d probably say – after a sigh of longing – that it sounded very much like a recipe for disaster.
Does this mean then that hygge isn’t for families with young children?
What can a toddler do with a book that is not made of fabric or heavy cardboard? How about lit votives or a steaming mug of delicious cocoa? The possibilities are plenty, and most of them, frightful. Just imagining them would make many mothers say, “No, thanks. I’ll pass.”
Such hasty rejection is discouraged. Pursuing hygge can be very much worth their while. As studies demonstrate, hygge’s benefits are profoundly positive for toddlers. As per the dictates of a hygge home, some of the perks are as follows:
· More time in fresh air
· Less exposure to phones and tablets
· Better stimulation
· Sense of acknowledgement
· More meaningful family bond
Hygge with Toddlers
Since hygge is an intangible concept, it can’t be forced or staged. The right ambience can be created, but if the parent doesn’t really get it, then the desired outcome won’t be forthcoming.
If you wish to do hygge with your little ones, here are tips to help you go about it correctly:
1. Leave your worries and other issues at the door.
There are other times to focus on problems. When you do hygge, you have to create a safe place for your family to relax together.
2. Be present with your children.
This means turning off phones and tablets. Give them a time when they have your full attention.
3. Prepare food together.
Part of hygge is embracing good food. Start your kids young. You get to work together as a unit and they’ll feel more invested toward enjoying the fruit of their labor.
Remember your children’s nutritional needs in taking advantage of their enthusiasm.
4. Spend time outdoors.
Experience nature with your kids. Hygge isn’t just about staying warm indoors; it’s also about enjoying the warmth fostered by shared special experiences. Also, alongside proper nutrition, regular exposure to nature helps build a robust immune system.
5. Play with your kids.
If you have older kids, you can come up with ways to include the youngest in your family. If you don’t, there are plenty of suitable games to choose from, or you can just invent some.
6. Sing as a family.
You don’t need to have beautiful voices to enjoy singing, and doing this together is always fun and uplifting to the soul. It’s also especially beneficial for toddlers who are still learning how to talk.
7. Have a read-aloud.
You can read to your kids or have one of the older kids read to the group. Big picture books are best for reading with toddlers.
8. Wear comfy clothes.
It doesn’t have to be wool socks and sweats. Just make sure that you’re as physically relaxed as possible so you can more easily work on calming the mind and recharging the soul.
9. Create a pleasant meeting place.
As long as your family can lazily lounge together and not be upset by clutter and other reminders of tasks that need to get done, you’re good.
10. Make hygge part of your routine.
Whether daily or weekly, make it a constant in your family — a nice and comfortable time that your children can count on and a tradition that they can continue as adults.
Take the Hygge Oath
There are variations of the hygge oath scattered online. This oath is a guideline of sorts for those looking to achieve hygge. Fortunately, some of these lists have been crafted for families with young children.
Hygge may seem like a daunting proposition for parents with toddlers, but definitely worth the effort for happier and healthier kids.