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. It’s an art of creating feelings of cosiness, happiness, familiarity, simplicity, comfort and anything that brings that warm feeling of contentment. It could be the simple act of lighting a candle, snuggling under a blanket, or sipping tea by the fire when its cold outside.
Hygge concept in Early Years Settings
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. Hygge encourages a focus on children’s wellbeing, which is fundamental in their development and continuing progress.
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?
A Hygge Environment needs to consider the ten core elements, as highlighted by Meik Wiking (author of The Little Book of Hygge). These elements are achieved through careful changes to the children’s environment and the way learning is approached.
- Atmosphere- creating a cosy and relaxing homely atmosphere
- Presence- focus on their current interests in the present moment
- Pleasure- promote happiness and well-being
- Equality- respect for others
- Togetherness- spend time with friends and family
- Gratitude- taking time to reflect and talk about what they are grateful for
- Harmony- enjoying playing together and not focusing on competitiveness
- Truce- learning to manage conflict and share experiences
- Comfort- a relaxing comfortable environment
- Shelter- a space to relax
Incorporating a Hygge environment in our nursery settings
At many of our nurseries within The Old Station Nursery Group, we strive to create a Hygge Environment. For example, at our Sandhills Wolverhampton Nursery, there is an emphasis on ensuring there is a calm, relaxing and warm environment. This is reflected in the interactions the practitioners have with the children, to enhance their development and progress. Some more examples of how we adopt the Hygge approach in our nurseries include:
- Practitioners focusing on the children’s current interests and allowing them time to explore, talk and investigate.
- There is calming music playing in some of our rooms, along with calming scents.
- In some of our nurseries, indoor lighting is rarely used as there are twinkly lights on to soften the atmosphere.
- Each room has been carefully designed to incorporate a cosy homely feel with rugs, cushions, lamps and even cosy corners to have some reflection/reading time
- There is minimal clutter in the rooms to promote a rel
- axing learning play space to explore in.
Incorporating this environment at Home
Hygge can just as easily be incorporated at home. It’s a great approach not only for your children to feel relaxed and happy, but also for you as a parent.
Start by enjoying your surroundings, do something as simple as going for a nice walk, to enjoy what nature has to offer. Try to use more softer lighting at home and create nice cosy areas to relax in. It helps to have nice calming scents around the house by using an essential oil diffuser you can create this relaxing atmosphere.
Reading is beneficial in reducing stress and helps you bond with your child. It improves brain connectivity, vocabulary and comprehension too. Remember to unwind and surround yourself with family to enjoy time together and give yourself and your child time to reflect on the day/week. Take time to appreciate each other and one self.
To encourage a Hygge environment for your children, think about viewing the environment through their eyes. What would make them feel calm and relaxed? Maybe set up a den or cosy corner, using blankets, or set up some cushions for your child to get cosy with some books.
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!
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