Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish concept and attitude to life, that focuses on living in the moment, and feeling the joy there is in everyday routines and activities
Hygge in Early Years settings
Hygge is increasingly finding its way into Early Years settings. In these nurturing environments, the focus is on cultivating warmth, comfort, and a sense of well-being for both children and key carers. Soft, inviting spaces, natural materials, and warm lighting are often incorporated to create a soothing ambiance that encourages relaxation, play, and learning. By embracing hygge principles, nurseries aim to provide children with a sense of security and belonging, promoting their emotional well-being and overall development in a serene and comforting space.
Applying the concept of Hygge within our nursery settings means that we can help create a home-from-home feeling for the children in our care. This in turn allows the feeling a sense of security and well-being, which allows the children to explore and investigate with confidence. It can also start to promote an all round feeling of togetherness and enjoyment.
Early Years settings which are adopting this approach found children’s behaviours changing to a more positive note, as the calming atmosphere allowed for more focus and engagement on their own interests in play and promoting friendship, self-confidence and peaceful play will help to manage children’s emotions.
What makes a Hygge environment?
Creating a Hygge Environment involves considering ten core elements, as highlighted by Meik Wiking, the author of “The Little Book of Hygge.” These elements can be achieved through thoughtful adjustments to the children’s surroundings and the approach to learning:
- Atmosphere: Fostering a cosy and relaxing homely ambiance.
- Presence: Encouraging a focus on the present moment and current interests.
- Pleasure: Promoting happiness and overall well-being.
- Equality: Nurturing respect for others.
- Togetherness: Emphasising quality time spent with friends and family.
- Gratitude: Encouraging reflection on and discussion of things to be thankful for.
- Harmony: Enjoying play together without an excessive focus on competitiveness.
- Truce: Teaching conflict management and the sharing of experiences.
- Comfort: Providing a relaxing and comfortable environment.
- Shelter: Creating a space for relaxation and retreat.
Incorporating a Hygge environment in our nursery settings
Many of our nurseries within The Old Station Nursery Group are dedicated to creating a Hygge environment, promoting a calm and nurturing atmosphere. Take, for instance, our nursery in Wolverhampton, where we prioritise a serene and warm ambiance. Our practitioners engage with children in ways that support their development and growth. Here are some examples of how we incorporate the Hygge approach across our nurseries:
- Practitioners prioritise children’s current interests, granting them time for exploration and discovery.
- Soothing music and calming scents are integrated into select rooms.
- To create a gentle atmosphere, twinkly lights often replace harsh indoor lighting in some nurseries.
- Each room is thoughtfully designed to evoke a cosy, homely feel, featuring rugs, cushions, lamps, and cozy corners for reflection and reading.
- We maintain minimal clutter in the rooms to encourage a serene and open learning environment for exploration.
Incorporating a Hygge environment at home
Hygge is an approach that can be integrated into your home, offering not only relaxation and happiness for your children but also benefits for you as a parent. But how can you achieve this?
Embrace your surroundings; a leisurely walk in nature can provide a simple yet profound connection to the environment. Soft, soothing lighting can transform your home into a cozy oasis, creating inviting areas for relaxation. Enhance the ambiance with calming scents throughout your home using an essential oil diffuser, fostering a tranquil atmosphere that benefits everyone.
Reading holds numerous advantages, reducing stress while strengthening your bond with your child. It also enhances brain connectivity, vocabulary, and comprehension. Make time to unwind and engage with your family, fostering togetherness and creating moments for reflection on the day or week. Cherish these moments, appreciating each other and yourselves.
To cultivate a Hygge environment for your children, try to see the world through their eyes. Consider what would make them feel calm and relaxed. Create a den or cosy corner adorned with blankets and cushions, where your child can snuggle up with books, promoting their well-being and love for learning.
Hygge is a long term investment in self-care and a commitment to providing warmth and happiness around you. Wellbeing has long since been overlooked and should be the forefront of health and overall happiness; more importantly it’s a mindset to try to surround yourself with. Developing and maintaining this helps you be the best versions of yourself. Make the most of your precious moments as well as the simple things in life!