Find out why cuddles and cushions will help you and your baby live happily ever after
MEET THE EXPERT
Jessica Joelle Alexander is a Danish parenting expert and mum of two; jessica joellealexander.com
HYGGE was the big trend this winter 2016. In the shops, you can hardly move for all the throws, cushions and candles to make our homes more snug. But the Danish philosophy, which loosely translates as ‘cosiness’ isn’t just about interior decorating.
In essence, hygge (pronounced ‘hooga’) means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. It’s enjoying a candlelit snuggle on the sofa with your partner or spending time over a meal talking about the meaning of life with those you love the most in the world. And it’s probably why the Danes are generally considered the happiest people on the planet and top the UN’s annual World Happiness Report year after year.
Jessica Joelle Alexander, co-author of The Danish Way of Parenting, says it does have a lot to do with this passion for cosiness, but there’s more to it than that. “Superfi cially, it might be about fi lling your home with candles and cakes,” she says, “but fundamentally, it’s a psychological space you enter into with your loved ones. Embracing hygge means the whole family focuses and connects in the moment.” Try this life-changing trend that is suitable for all ocassions.
MAKE BATHTIME EXTRA COSY
“Hygge is such a big part of Danish family life that they do it without thinking,” says Jessica. For the rest of us, however, getting into what she calls ‘the hygge space’ requires conscious effort. “The unspoken rule is that everyone leaves their own stresses at the door, so they can focus positively on the whole family instead of just themselves,” she explains.
One way to practise this is to choose a specifi c place and time during your day to focus on hygge: bathtime is perfect. “As a mum, you might be busy and stressed for a million different reasons,” says Jessica, “but try to close the bathroom door on all that. Remind yourself that the next few minutes are for focusing entirely on you and your baby, with no interruptions. Remember that time moves really fast: focus on this moment in time, when he is so little and adorable. Light some candles, well out of his reach, warm some fluffy towels, and play some calm classical music in the background to make bathtime as relaxing and bonding as it can possibly be.”
INCREASE THE CONTACT
“Massaging your children is super hygge too,” says Jessica. A lovely, simple start to baby massage is to lay your baby on his back on a towel, somewhere safe and warm. Using a little oil, wrap your hands around the top of one thigh and gently pull down till your hands reach his foot. Repeat, swapping legs. “This is something you can do with siblings too. Lay them next to one another, and it’s bonding for the whole family,” she adds.