Do you know the term “family hygge”?
You’ve probably seen this little Danish word in an article or two. The idea of hygge has become pretty popular recently and with good reason.
As a Dane, hygge is part of my daily life and routine. It’s something I always have in mind when tuck my kids in at night, cook, work – in any situation, really. I always think about how I can make it hyggeligt.
One of my favorite ways to hygge is with my family. We call it familiehygge (family hygge) in Danish. Today, I’ll be sharing some good ideas on how to do just that.
What’s the definition of hygge?
If you’re new to hygge, let me just quickly explain what it’s about. Pronounced hoo-guh, hygge is an atmosphere, a feeling of contentment or well-being and a mindset to be present and appreciate the little things in life.
Hygge is centered around cozy activities, but it’s also a mental state of well-being and relaxation. It’s a mindset.
When we hygge, we make a conscious decision to find joy in the simple things. For example, when I cook, I put some music on, or when I tuck in my 3-year old, I shut the lights, except from a small dim lit lamp. Sometimes we also read a bedside story inside his play tent with a little flashlight.
Read next: What is Nordic hygge?
What does hygge feel like?
Hygge feels like:
♥ A hug after a long day
♥ A warm drink when it’s cold outside
♥ Waking up at 6am and realizing it’s weekend
♥ Snuggling in bed till after 9 am
♥ Not worrying about anything
♥ Safety and belonging. It feels like home.
Read next: How to get started with hygge today
What is family hygge?
Kids in Denmark grow up with hygge. They learn how to hygge from early on because it’s seen as an essential part of a good life.
When you hygge as a family, you spend time together. And more importantly – you connect. Even if it’s just a few minutes, it’s still worth it. It just takes awareness and presence.
Hygge is about quality, not quantity. Even 20 minutes makes a huge difference.
Hygge is a personal and individual thing, and what makes you happy might not be the same for someone else. The goal however, is to spend time with your family, so put away your phone and laptop so you can be present.
There are tons of ways to do hygge as a family, but here are some of the easiest ways if you have babies, toddlers, or preschoolers.
1. Cook together
I cook with Theo every day. He helps with whatever he can – stirring, adding ingredients, pushing the buttons, and tasting of course! While we cook, I ask him to smell the spices. He’s only three, but he can already see when the lasagna has had enough and what oregano and cinnamon smells like.
Bonding or connecting over cooking is a great way to hygge as a family. So, invite your children to join in the cooking and have quality time together. Depending on how old your kids are, let everyone have a role to play – chopping, slicing, stirring, tasting.
2. Backyard dinner
To add to the hygge, why not eat outside? One of my fondest memories as a child is when my mom would set the outside dinner table during summer. Having dinner with the family, while listening to the birds chirping and enjoying the warm breeze while you talk about how everyone’s day went. Now, that’s family hygge!
3. Go for a day trip
This summer, we went on quite a few day trips with my parents and Thomas’ mom. It’s fun for the whole family because you get to experience something new. And you spend time together. On the last trip before I had Toby, we went to Fur island. I made lunch for us, just some sandwiches in a picnic basket. My mom and dad brought some folding chairs and a table, some snacks and soda. It was super hygge.
4. Go on a recycling scavenger hunt
We need to keep our distance from others, but we still like to go outside and get some fresh air. A great way to spend family time is to go for a walk and collect garbage.
Try to bring a garbage bag and some disposable gloves and pick up the garbage you find on your way. This way, you help clean up the environment and make the world a little bit better.
5. Read out loud
Who doesn’t enjoy reading aloud ♥
Let your child choose a book you should read aloud. Even older children enjoy reading aloud – especially if you add snacks or a hot cup of cocoa. If there are more children, you can let the older ones read to the little ones – it adds to the hygge factor.
6. Spend time with grandparents
We all have different day rhythms and busy schedules. But making time to call and visit the grandparents is time well spent. Find an hour or two that fits everyone. Have breakfast, lunch or dinner together – it’s great family hygge. You have to eat anyway, so why not do it with your family?
Remember to call the grandparents, especially if they’re alone.
Theo and farmor
7. Stop dance
Family hygge is not just about snuggling on the couch. When it comes to kids, they love to be active.
Try stop dance, You can take turns choosing music, so that the children also have the opportunity to hear the music you enjoyed dancing to as a child. One controls the music, the others dance, and when the music stops, everyone has to stand completely still. If you move, you are out of the game. The last one on the dance floor is the winner.
8. Jigsaw puzzle
Another fun family activity is puzzles. Use a small one if you have toddlers. For pre-schoolers, 100 pieces is challenging, but possible.
How to succeed:
- Start with the edges
- Sort the pieces by motifs – e.g. pieces with buildings, water, sky, grass or people
- Let everyone have an area – mom takes the buildings, kids take the sky or grass
- Put on some relaxing music – maybe you can make waffles when you are done?
9. Watch a movie together
This is one of my favorites. Snuggle in the couch with a warm blanket and put on a good movie. No phones. Kids will know when you’re not present and it ruins the family hygge.
10. Snobrød and bonfires
Do you have a grill or a campfire site nearby? Then you can make Danish snobrød (campfire bread).
Making the dough is easy and fun for the kids. While it raises, find some good sticks and make a fire.