Bringing your kids up to be happy and stable is the most important job you can have as a parent. Instilling happiness into a child means cultivating a mindset that allows a child to think positively and have experiences that back up a sense of wellbeing.
There are many parenting tricks that can help your children lead happier and mentally healthier lives, and there are some countries that come out on top when it comes to overall happiness. So what exactly are they doing right?
Denmark and other Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden continually win the yearly “happiest country to live in” contest, and they have a culture that helps to ensure children are brought up happy and content. This is mainly down to “hygge” — moments of set family time that Scandinavians practice throughout their lives. Here I’ll explain more about hygge and how it can help produce 7 successful habits of parenting we can use that go towards raising happier children.
1. Create Set “We” Times Together
As parents, we all have busy lives, but hygge, a tradition in Scandinavian culture, basically translates as having cosy time together. Originally carved out of the deep, cold winters back when families spent time keeping warm and keeping each other company, the concept of hygge is still prevalent today and is seen as an important cultivator in family happiness. Think of it as a form of mindfulness spent together as a family unit.
Putting special time aside each week to spend together, such as going for walks, a BBQ, or a special family dinner, creates a habit of “we” time. With computers, TV, and video games luring kids away, along with busy, hectic lives for parents means it’s even more crucial to make this together time a way of cultivating happiness for children and the whole family.
2. Lessen The Negativity
This is probably an obvious one. After all, you can’t cultivate positivity from constant negative environments. However, while it’s not always easy to create positive vibes all the time (we’re human after all!), it is beneficial to cut down on complaining, arguing, and general negative talk. When creating these special times where you gather together, make sure it’s negative-free and purely there for enjoyment and connection between you all. The aim is to create a safe, positive space that children will respond well to and that will teach them the importance of having fun together, leaving negativity at the door.
3. Create A Cozy Atmosphere
It’s traditional that the family time of hygge is cozy. Coziness emulates togetherness in Norway and Denmark, and this could involve cooking a hearty meal together, renting a cabin somewhere, or getting out and going somewhere beautiful away from the TV, computers, and video games. Creating a cosy space encourages human connection without the modern distractions that families face, even if just for a few hours.
4. Play Games And Have Fun
Remember the good old days of board games with the rain coming down outside and paddling pools in the summer? With video games causing more solitude from the family unit, it’s crucial that spending time together is fun and playful. Play is a wonderful way for children to laugh, learn, and be happy, and hygge creates the opportunity to use this as a bonding session. It’s all about enjoying and getting the most out of the present moment — a good habit to have when it comes to creating happiness in our lives.
5. Share Positive Stories Together
Another way of cultivating happiness and bonding is sharing uplifting stories from your past with each other. This gives the opportunity for laughter, and laughter is known to improve health and boost happiness. It’s also a great way of allowing your children to get to know you better and teaching them the importance and benefits of storytelling. Again, it’s all about bonding and creating the kind of environment that children will want to come back to again and again.
6. Cultivate A Sense of Teamwork
Teamwork teaches a child not only a sense of responsibility, but allows them to see how helping out as a team makes life a whole lot easier. Coming together to cook, clean, and clear up — basically setting up the hygge experience — gives a child the opportunity to be an intrinsic part of hygge themselves. Contributing will become a habit for even the most reluctant of kids once they see how they reap the benefits that hygge provides.
7. Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On “Family Time”
While it’s really important to put time aside for the family to get together as a unit and have a positive experience, we all need our alone time. Children can get frustrated and so can parents — it’s all natural. That’s why there should be a time limit on the hygge time you spend together. It’s equally important to have the experience and then have your own individual time away. Spending too much time together can start to cause friction and take away from the positive experience you get when you do have these moments together.
Try introducing the concept of hygge to encourage a bit more happiness and family mindfulness into yours and your children’s lives. By getting into this routine, you are teaching your children habits that they will eventually pass on to their own children, and what a lovely thought that is!