The art of hygge has been everywhere during 2016, and our Family Seat team are well on board. If you’re not familiar with the concept, hygge is a Danish term and a lifestyle concept centred on warmth, contentment and cosiness. It has been described as “a feeling of calm togetherness and the enjoyment of simple pleasures.” It has also been named the ‘word of the year’ by the Collins and Oxford dictionaries.

With kids on school holidays, relatives coming to stay and the ever-present Mother in Law giving her opinion on all and sundry, it can be difficult to stay calm. That’s why you may need to introduce some hygge to the situation to keep things calm throughout the chaotic Christmas period. One busy mum recently tried the hygge method of parenting, and swears she’s never going back.

It’s all about stripping things back and appreciating the simpler things in life. Yet that can be difficult when there are kids around. For example, candles play a central role in creating an atmosphere of hygge. But we all know that candles and two-year-olds do not go together. So with our parenting guide to hygge, you can still enjoy the contented feelings without having to worry about safety or security. Let’s get hygge!

1. Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Embrace the chill and go for a family bike ride. Getting out into the countryside or even just round the block on two wheels will avoid keeping everyone cooped up inside. Kids are far less likely to bicker, and adults less likely to argue. It’s also a good way to get rid of kids’ pent-up energy. For those too little to ride themselves, make sure there’s space for them on board with mum and dad. And always keep things safe with a proper seat and helmets. If you’re feeling very ambitious, you could use the space and time to teach your little ones how to ride their first tricycle/bicycle – a lovely way for all the family to bond and older children to share their knowledge with younger siblings

2. Be Creative

Nothing keeps children entertained like a creative task and independent play is a crucial part of hygge. Being given responsibility and coming up with ways to entertain themselves is a wonderful way to encourage your child’s independence – and to take them off your hands when you’re busy prepping the Christmas lunch. Encourage hygge feelings by having the older kids learn how to knit a scarf and the younger ones to create a Christmas nativity scene using Play-Do. Check out our Toddler Gifts blog for inspiration on toys that will keep kids entertained throughout the festive period and beyond.

3. Bake

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the smell of freshly baked cookies or gingerbread men. These smells are also commonly associated with – you guessed it – creating an atmosphere of hygge. Everyone can join in, with little ones making shapes out of the dough and older children mixing up the ingredients. Plus, you get some sweet treats out of it!

4. Keep Warm

People often get grumpy and out of sorts in the cold, so make sure to keep things toasty with endless cups of tea and thick, warm blankets. Light the fire (if you have one) to really up the cosy stakes. Winter woollens such as blankets and cosy knits are an essential part of the hygge image, which perhaps comes as no surprise for a concept that originated in Scandinavia.

5. Have Games for all the Family

They’re not a passing trend – adult colouring books are definitely here to stay. The calm, concentrated nature of sitting down and colouring in promotes a hygge-style atmosphere and encourages relaxed interaction between family members. It’s a great way to diffuse tension, too. Kids can join in, too, for a lovely way to bond over the festive period. Puzzles are another way that family members of all ages can enjoy themselves while taking part in a task that requires concentration and positive emotions.

Keeping things hygge during parenting is not just about Christmas-time. It’s a great concept to use all year round and especially valuable during your child’s milestones such as potty training. Encouraging an atmosphere of calm coupled with boosting your child’s independence are both valuable ways to encourage success in milestone development.

For advice on any of the topics discussed in this post and all things potty training, get in touch with the team at Family Seat! You can also join our friendly community on Facebook and chat with us on Twitter.