Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a Danish concept that focuses on finding well-being by enjoying the comforts in everyday routines and all that’s around you. It’s an art of creating feelings of cosiness, happiness, familiarity, simplicity, comfort and anything that brings that warm feeling of contentment you feel inside. It could be the simple act of lighting a candle, snuggling under a blanket, sipping tea by the fire when its cold outside.
Hygge is simple, its about being aware of a good moment. The Danish incorporate this into their daily life so that they could find moments to celebrate, create stress-free and calming moments that could help lift one’s mood and spirit.
So how can you add Hygge to Early Years?
Upon reflection on how early years has changed through the years, where more and more pressure is continually being put on to the practitioners and children, applying the concept of hygge within settings allowed for the home from home feeling to emanate around. In turn, it helps to create that sense of security and well-being that allows the children to snuggle down, explore and investigate with confidence.
Children feel calmer, relaxed and overall it promoted an all round feeling of togetherness and enjoyment. Focusing on children’s wellbeing is fundamental in their development and continuing progress. Nurseries 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.
Creating that Hygge environment
In order to create the hygge approach into a setting, one must 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 the Hygge environment in our nurseries
At many of our nurseries within The Old Station Nursery Group, we strive to create a Hygge environment. At our Sandhills, Wolverhampton Nursery, for example, the emphasis is placed on ensuring there is a calm, relaxing and warm environment and this is reflected also in the interactions the practitioners have with the children to enhance their development and progress. In teaching Hygge is about focusing on the process and not the end product.
- Practitioners focus on the children’s current interests and allow them time to explore, talk and investigate.
- There is calming music playing in the rooms along with calming scents.
- The 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 are minimal clutter in the rooms to promote a relaxing learning play space to explore in.
Incorporating this environment at Home
Hygge can be incorporated at home, a lifestyle that helps to celebrate and spread warmth and calm can be good not just for children but for everyone all around. Make changes that make you happy and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, this is important to everyone’s wellbeing.
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.
Hygge is a long term investment in self care and a commitment to providing warmth and happiness around you. Well being has long since been overlooked and should be the forefront of health and overall happiness, more importantly its 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.
Written by Christina Law, Deputy Nursery Manager at Sandhills Day Nursery Wolverhampton