islandparent Parenting Getting Hygge With It

Getting Hygge With It

Okay, so it’s pronounced “hooga”—not higgy—and it’s nothing new (unless you’ve been busy raising kids for the past few years!), hygge, that state of cozy contentment, can feel near impossible when it comes to parenting.

Meltdown on aisle four? Not feeling it.

Food flinging across the kitchen and sliding down the wall? Nope, still no warm and fuzzies.

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Three-sailing wait? Can’t say the car is feeling so cozy or comfortable right about now.

But don’t stress says Iben Sandahl, parenting expert and author of The Danish Way of Parenting: A Guide to Raising the Happiest Kids in the World, getting hygge is as easy as lighting a candle, making some hot chocolate, sitting down with your kids and giving them your full attention.

At the risk of adding stress to the process, here’s a list of Dos and Don’ts that Sandahl recommends to help you set the mood:

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 devices. Turn them off or put them away. By giving children our full attention, we make the time afterwards much easier as they are then usually ready to do something without our interacting.

Do make it a daily/weekly routine. It makes kids 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. Light some candles, play a game or bake, for example. Part of the process is the preparations you do together.

So no matter what you call it—hygge, hibernating or just plain hanging out at home—here’s to finding comfort and joy this holiday season with those you love.

Happy Holidays and all the best in 2023.

Vancouver Island's Parenting Resource