How To Hygge With A Toddler

hygge with a toddler how to baby danish way

 
Hygge with a toddler can seem all but impossible, but it turns out, it’s easier than you would think. For anyone who has missed the lifestyle craze over the last few years, hygge (pronounced hoo-guh) is not easy to define in a single sentence, but it is a danish term used to encompass the feeling of being extraordinarily cosy, content and comfortable. I have always thought
that hygge was an airy-fairy term used to disguise lighting candles and wrapping up cosy as something more substantial. On the surface, it is exactly that, wrapping up warm and embracing the indoors, but if you delve deeper, hygge is so much more. This January, not able to avoid it any longer, I’ve jumped firmly onto the bandwagon and I’ve taken my family with me.

I discovered hygge on Pinterest (where all of the other fleeting trends live) and I found it underwhelming. I have a toddler, two jobs and a whole host of washing to do – am I wrong for feeling like investing my time in candles and cosiness is hit and miss? Probably not, but what I had managed to do at first was miss the true meaning of hygge. I discovered that true meaning in The Little Book Of Hygge, and life = changed. For fear of getting a little bit too deep here, hygge is a feeling, rather than a lifestyle. It is not so much a warm and cosy physical space, but a comfortable and welcoming psychological space to enter in to as a family. It all sounds a bit fluffy, but stick with me, I promise it’s much simpler than it sounds. While it is a lifestyle trend here, it’s a way of life for the Danes, and given that they are one of the happiest nations on the planet – it’s no surprise we’ve all caught on. Hygge with a toddler is slightly more daunting, but even moreso worth it, and we’ve been implementing this year in five simple ways.

1

Bake (in my case, try to). A big part of hygge is embracing good food. Whilst the cooking is left to dad in this household, baking is a time when we can come together.  We don’t bake fancy cupcakes, there are no french gateaus’ in sight and I am almost certain we won’t be giving Mary Berry a run for her money anytime soon. Baking is not necessarily stress free, quite the opposite given that I am useless in the kitchen and the toddler wants to grab everything and anything. But while it may not be stress free, it’s an activity that allows us all to be fully present, fully invested and to work as a unit. We’ll buy a cheap and cheerful box of easy bake cupcakes, put on some Disney music and embrace the challenge that is the toddler versus the wooden spoon.

hygge with a toddler how to baby danish way hygge with a toddler how to baby danish way

2

Get Outside. I once thought that the main concept of hygge was cosiness, of being indoors, but that in itself is one small aspect. The Danish motto is ‘there is no bad weather, only bad clothing‘ and I cannot think of a better one to live by. It’s been snowing, raining, freezing in Scotland in the New Year, but we’ve not missed the chance to get outside and to throw snowballs, or to chase the ducks at the pond. We’ll kick a ball about and we embrace the weather for what it is – a bit shitty, but perfectly do-able with the right hat on.

hygge with a toddler how to baby danish hygge with a toddler how to baby danish

3

Or, Stay Inside. Sometimes, the last thing we need to do is to go outside. I for one, will be the first to put my hands up and stay sometimes we all just need a couch day. We all need to slow down and do a little less at times. We’ll light some candles (placed high and as far away from little grabby hands as possible), cuddle up with the blankets and embrace the ambient theme tune of the Teletubbies. I feel like television may go against some of the basic principles of hygge, but as much as I would personally love to spend my Sunday night delving into a novel, my toddler would not, and so we adapt the basic principles to suit our family. By doing so, we remain present and able to spend quality time as a family, whilst also allowing the drug-like fix that is Tinky Winky.

hygge with a toddler how to baby danish

4

No-Go Phone Zones.  It’s very difficult to be truly invested in the moment if your phone is continually buzzing in your hand. I’ll be the first to say that phones, tablets and televisions very much play a role in modern families now, but that doesn’t mean they have to be a part of every waking moment. We made it one of our resolutions this year to have two no-phone-zones in our household. The first being at the dinner table, the second being during bath time. It’s a simple step, and one we have faltered on a good few times already (snapchat is a problem, I’m working on it) but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s so simple, but with a little bit of awareness and presence in the moment, the difference can be a big one.

5

Take A Hygge Oath. There was a Hygge Oath published in The Danish Way, and I think the oath alone sums up the way of life better than any book could have done. Think of the oath as a (less constraining) contract – a promise made as a family and a will to live a happier and more content life.  It lays down the ground rules, not one of which feels limiting or restrictive. It suggests positive steps, such as switching off phones and iPads, leaving negativity and drama at the door and to enjoy food and drink. The ‘oath’ itself is not a rule book, but rather a friendly reminder of the steps we need to take towards a happier space. We have ours somewhat crumpled on the window sill that looks over our dining table, a constant reminder that the dinner table is a hygge space, and one we need to act consciously in.

Hygge is meant for ‘we time’ rather than ‘me time.’ These five steps are five extremely simple changes that we can make, that will ultimately make us more present and a more positive household. We are not Danish, nor will we ever be, but bringing our son up with some of the values they live by can only mean a happier life. Let’s face it, even if it doesn’t quite go that far it gives us an excuse to cosy up on the couch, chase some ducks and make some cookies – so is it really going to be a bad thing? Believe it or not, hygge is more than just a hashtag on Instagram for your cosy candles and curated coffees – it’s a way of life, and one I am firmly in favor of.

Have you tried to hygge yet ?

 

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16 Comments

  1. February 5, 2018 / 9:15 am

    I’d never really thought much about hygge before, I assumed (like you!) that it was all a bit too Pinterest-y to fit with my life! But actually it sounds like we’re already half way there! I’ll be off to check out the Hygge Oath, and attempt to implement a phone free zone… although I can’t see that going down well, even with the toddler! x

  2. February 5, 2018 / 10:51 am

    Genuinely never tried to be hygge, though we do tend to have lots of blankets and candles about so maybe we’re doing it without even thinking!

  3. February 5, 2018 / 2:42 pm

    This is a fab read. Like you I thought Hygge was a bit of a fad but actually didn’t really know what it was. I had no idea it meant all these listed above. I quite like the sound of it myself now x

  4. February 5, 2018 / 3:33 pm

    How fab. I love staying in when the weather’s bad and getting cosy with a movie and some snacks x

  5. February 5, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    I’m literally obsessed with hygge. Baking and cuddles on the sofa are such a win. And I love the idea of no-phone zones, we don’t use them in the kiddy bedrooms unless it’s for a specific photo reason!

  6. February 5, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    I’ve never really understood what this is either but it sounds like we try to do this too!

  7. February 6, 2018 / 1:08 am

    I love this post! I honestly didn’t really know much what hygge was other than being cosy and personal comforts and things like that but it sounds like something to really get stuck into. I love the idea of no phone zones, mine literally comes with me everywhere and I always feel so guilty that I’m not “in the moment” as much as I’d like all the time but then I fall into the trap of checking it again and whoops, it’s 2 hours later. I’m definitely going to look into reading this book as it sounds so wonderful, and embracing a healthy, positive, happy attitude and lifestyle can only ever be good right? Xx

  8. February 6, 2018 / 8:19 am

    Hygge is a big thing in our house, though that’s probably not surprising as my husband is Danish! It’s something which I embraced when I live in Denmark and it’s wonderful.

  9. February 6, 2018 / 9:56 am

    I didn’t realise Hygge was outdoors too! I thought it was all about staying indoors and being cosy warm! We are always outdoors, even in the cold and wet weather!

  10. February 6, 2018 / 10:45 am

    I love Hygge, this has actually been the reminder I needed to incorporate it into our lives more! Love the photos in this post with the cupcakes, sounds like my perfect afternoon!

  11. February 6, 2018 / 11:47 am

    Loved this article Kirsty! Super interesting – I’d never heard of anything like this before. Love it. <3

  12. February 6, 2018 / 11:51 am

    I feel like I have read so much about Hygge now but your post has inspired me to actually give it a real go! I LOVE the “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing” quote, my goodness what a wonderful way to look at it! I’ve just added the book to my basket in Amazon and I’ll be ordering it come pay day! x

  13. February 6, 2018 / 2:57 pm

    I once read that to have a Hygge bathroom you should make it like a spa but with plastic bath toys coming out of my ears I gave up on that but I will have to revisit this! Cuddles on the sofa with a blanket could work!

    Georgina Clarke Blog

  14. Hannah | MakeDo&Push
    February 7, 2018 / 8:57 am

    This is so lovely 🙂 I think we live a Hygge life unintentionally already xx

  15. February 7, 2018 / 10:58 am

    Oh this is so interesting! I must have totally missed the point of hygge too because in my mind it was all about candles, nice accessories in the home and feeling cosy. Impossible when you have a house full of kids. But this is totally eye opening, thanks! x

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