Initially, when I learned about the concept of hygge, I imagined it as something I would do by myself (reading a book by the fire under snuggly warm blankets) or with friends after my daughter was in bed (a dinner of comfort food followed by board games and good conversation).
But I came to realize, when you have young kids, those times of being without your children are few and far between.
Here are a few ideas for incorporating hygge into your life when your days feel like they’re not much more than chasing little legs around and cleaning up spills.
1. Let Your Toddler Take the Lead
Toddlers have a innate desire and need to explore and discover how our world works. They are great at noticing the small things that we generally pass by without a thought.
Next time you are on a walk, instead of hurrying them along, follow your toddler’s lead and experience the awe and wonder they see in the world.
Be curious with them – watch the worm crawl over the grass, pick up sticks off the ground like they are a treasure you’ve found, admire the bright color of the dandelions.
2. Be Distraction-Free
I’ve found that the biggest distraction that keeps me from being present with my toddler is my phone. It’s so easy to get lost in the rabbit trail that social media and email often lead us down, but learning to spend less time on our devices and more time with the people we love will help us experience a hygge lifestyle!
Try these tips for checking your phone less:
- Turn off notifications
- Move your phone out of sight when you’re not using it
- Choose specific times of day to check your phone (like during your toddler’s nap time) and set an alarm for the time you want to be off
3. Indulge a Little
Take your toddler out for their favorite dessert or make something tasty together at home, just because.
Here are a few fun recipes to try out:
4. Get Cozy!
Dim the lighting, put on your comfy sweats (the not-so-cute-but-oh-so-cozy ones that rarely see the light of day), and snuggle up with your little one(s)!
These activities are perfect for a hygge evening with kids:
- Have a movie night with your favorite pizza
- Build a blanket fort and read together by flashlight or twinkle lights
- Complete a puzzle or play a game together
5. Include Your Toddler in Your Day-to-Day Responsibilities
Toddlers and young children love to “help”. While their “help” may not be all that effective in getting tasks done efficiently, if time allows, adjust your process and expectations to allow for your little one to participate. They will love to feel involved!
Here are some simple ideas for getting your toddler involved in household tasks:
- Ask your child to transfer the clothes from the dryer to the laundry basket
- Give your toddler an extra rag to help as you dust or clean the windows
- Have your little one carry his empty plate to the sink area after he is done with his meal
- Show your child how to feed and care for the family pet
- Cook together – let your toddler crack the egg for a recipe or help you mix the ingredients together in a bowl
6. Read Together
A love of reading is something most of us hope to instill in our children from a young age. One way to start is by initiating a daily habit of reading together. My daughter and I read together first thing in the morning and before her nap, and then we have family reading time before bed.
Our family’s favorite cozy reads for kids include:
- Grandma’s House by Alice Melvin
- At the Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin
- Home by Carson Ellis
- Life by Cynthia Rylant
- Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
7. Treat Yourself to a Special Drink
I find my daily tasks are always a bit more enjoyable if I am able to sip on a favorite beverage as I go through my day. I try to wake up before my daughter so that I can take the time to brew some fresh pour-over coffee. In the evenings, as I cook dinner, I love to treat myself to a nice glass of red wine (or an ice-cold La Croix if I’m pregnant).
Try these easy make-at-home drinks to treat yo’self:
- White Chocolate Latte
- Creamy Vanilla Coffee
- Vanilla Spice Steamer
- Basic Iced Tea
- Simple Berry Spritzer
8. Recognize How Special This Season of Life Is
Have you ever heard the saying, “The days are long, but the years are short”? I know, it’s something we parents hear all the time from well-meaning family members and passersby at the grocery store. Usually the response in my head is something like, “Yes, but do you know how long the days really are?”
But maybe it wouldn’t hurt if, every once in a while, we took a second to just watch our little ones and take a snapshot in our minds of how they are at this moment in time. Notice how they move about their environment, what things they’re drawn to, what things excite them.
This practice will help you readjust your focus from the day-to-day chaos and exhaustion to remembering the important work you’re doing in shaping a tiny human to contribute something special to our world.
How do you practice hygge with your toddler?