Did you know that for over 40 years, Denmark has been voted one of the happiest countries in the world? It has been especially noted that the kids who grow up here are happier, stronger and closer to their family. Have you wondered what is it that makes some people happier than the others? Yes, parenting is stressful and there’s no denying it. But what is it about Denmark that seems to overcome or a least overshadow this stress in favour of laughter and merriment? Well, much of their happiness can be attributed to the Danish parenting model to which we will give you a sneak peek…
The Danish believe in a parenting model known as Hygge. Pronounced “hooga,” Hygge means cosiness, typically with family and loved ones. While it sounds simple, it takes effort to put into practice — but it is well worth it in the end. A happy family is crucial for a person’s overall well-being, especially when it comes to children. You can give your child a positive environment at home only if there are healthy family relationships he can draw comfort from. To make this happen, firstly, take a Hygge oath like this one as a family
Beautiful, isn’t it? This secret from Denmark has been validated by several studies over the years. Research has clearly shown the relationship between a happy family and a child’s emotional well-being. Families that discuss their everyday problems have children who grow up to be more resilient and better equipped to handle life’s troubles. Growing up in a positive environment also makes children less prone to anxiety and stress, freeing their minds for creative pursuits. Whatever battles you may face in the outside world, your home is where you are welcomed with open arms and loving smiles. Most importantly, if kids grow up with a strong sense of bonding, it is reflected in their own adult relationships.
Once you have taken the oath, all you have to do is honour it! You can tailor the oath any way you want, but make sure it covers the following basic points:
- When you are together as a family, focus on ‘we time’ instead of ‘me time’
- Avoid gadgets as much as you can
- Ensure that you make a conscious effort to keep conversations positive and uplifting around your kids.
- Always, always be a team as a family. Divide chores and tasks between all members of yor family so that everyone contributes and one person is not burdened with all the work
- And of course, do all this only for a limited period of time regularly. You don’t want to force it now, do you? At the end of the day, me time and couple time are also important.
Making Hygge Possible in your Household
Making and keeping such a oath is not really difficult in theory. However, we have so much stress and chaos in our lives, that things can sometimes look awry. Fret not. With just a little effort, you can create a positive and loving environment for yourself and your family and make Hygge possible! Here are ten tips for building healthy family relationships within your home.
1. Leave work behind
This is really difficult in today’s world as most of us all so well connected at all times! But it is vital to leave work pressures behind when you walk inside your front door. You get a break from work which enables you to think better the next day, and your family gets your undivided attention. For parents who work from home, setting strict time limits for work should help.
2. Focus on your marriage
In many families, once a child is born, she becomes the apple of all eyes. But focusing on your marriage is important, because a fulfilling relationship generates benefits for the rest of the family. A strong relationship between parents sets the stage for a happy family and secure childhood.
3. Manage your anger
Children are messy; which makes it very easy for us to lose our cool and fly off the handle. But with all the violence in the world today, this is certainly not what we want our children to learn. Set an example by managing your anger with techniques like blowing out air, or counting to 10 before reacting. Yelling and shouting creates a lot of negative energy which affects a kids’ moods and mentality in a bad mood. ||
4. Turn off the electronics
Electronics – the curse and boon of the modern world! With the help of your laptop or smart phone, you are now connected to everyone, everywhere, all the time. This ease of communication makes it tempting to keep checking for updates from work or friends. This makes for poor communication skills at home and sends the message that your family is not worth your time and attention.
5. Make weekends and holidays sacrosanct
Whether you work five or six days in a week, make sure you leave at least one day exclusively for your family. This is an ideal opportunity for the family to do enjoyable activities together such as going for a movie or visiting an interesting place. Making your own family traditions for special festivals ensures that these memories will live on in your children’s minds.
6. Ensure ‘me-time’ for everyone
While everyone in the family should enjoy each other, every one needs to spend some time alone. Even babies need their ‘quiet time’ when they are over stimulated. Make sure everyone has hobbies and some me-time every day to recharge themselves. This also helps kids understand the concept of privacy.
7. Have at least one daily meal together
Odd work hours make it difficult for a family to share every meal of the day, but you can manage to have at least one meal together. Meal times are great for family members to share stories of their day. Research shows that children who eat with their families are more likely to eat good food and maintain a healthy weight.
8. Speak respectfully
Respect is a core value for happiness. This needs to be inculcated in children right from a young age, and there’s no one better to model this behavior other than parents. Speak respectfully to everyone – your spouse, children, relatives, colleagues, helpers, strangers. Avoid degrading talk even if you’re angry, because children pick up on such things very quickly.
9. Show affection
You love your family, but do they know it? Shower your love liberally, with lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles. Hugging is found to boost oxytocin and serotonin levels in the body, which are responsible for feeling good. They also develop a sense of security and increase a person’s self-esteem. So go ahead and cuddle your little munchkins!
10. Involve each other
We’ve suggested leaving work outside the home, but the reverse need not be true! Take your family to family meets at your workplace, so they get to know where you spend all day. Similarly, make time to attend your children’s school programs and recitals so they also realize how much you value their achievements. For family vacations, sit together and make plans – children will learn many valuable lessons in preparation and execution.
As you can see, most of these tips are also conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Building healthy family relationship not only benefits individual members of the family, but the entire society. Like Michael J. Fox says, ‘Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.’