PARENTING TIPS

Something I noticed in Copenhagen…

IMG_1103Last weekend, Tamar (my husband) and I spent a few great days together in the wonderful capital of Denmark, Copenhagen. We really enjoyed our stay (albeit we had quite some rain!), and I’ll definitely share some of our favourite discoveries here very soon. In the meantime, I wanted to post about something fascinating I noticed in Copenhagen…

IMG_1102 IMG_1104Even though it rains a lot in Denmark, and it can also be quite cold in winter, the Danes believe it is super healthy for their children to spend most of their day outside. Every time a baby or young child naps during daytime, it sleeps outside. For this purpose, there are special prams that are much bigger than the practical pushchairs we tend to use here in the Netherlands (f.e. the Bugaboo). I was chatting to a mum and she told me that Scandinavian children consistently  sleep in their prams for daytime naps until they are at least three years old! It is generally believed this is healthier for the children, and also that they sleep much better outside. Amazing!

Even when it rains, the babies sleep in their prams. They all have a huge (black) cover that completely covers and protects the sleeping child. When out and about, and a child wakes up and wants to sit, there are are special banana shaped pillows to support it in the back. Also, prams (with the sleeping baby inside!) are often left outside of shops or cafés, while the parents shop, sip their coffees or have lunch inside.

Copenhagen parenting outdoor play rain suit IMG_1101Another thing I noticed, is that children of walking age all own a special one-piece ‘outdoor suit’. It’s like a thick, warm rain / snowsuit that is worn on top of the ‘indoor clothes’. I’m told that often, the ‘indoor clothes’ are very easy-to-wear: often these are leggings and long-sleeved tops or all-in-one jumpsuits, made out of cosy cotton jersey or thin wool knits. When the child goes outside, the ‘outdoor suit’ is simply put on on top of the cosy (and easy-to-layer) indoor wear. So practical! Even when it’s raining or snowing, Scandinavian children spend most of their day outside.

Tamar and I were so inspired by all of this. We pledged to take our children outside even more, and definitely be bothered less by ‘bad weather’. (We even went to a department store to check out the ‘outdoor suits’!) Because as the Scandinavian say — there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!

xxx Esther


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Comments (29)

Annika
February 27, 2015

We use these suits here in Germany too! I could not do without them. : )


February 27, 2015

Such a nice post, Esther! I LOVE CPH. I use to work just north of Copenhagen as an Au-Pair and I loved how relaxed the danish families I met were with their children. It inspired me so much until today. I think a lot of danish parents have a quite “natural way” of raising their children. Looking forward to your next CPH Post! Happy Weekend for you and your family! Vera xxx


February 27, 2015

When I was in Vienna, I saw children and babies going around in these snowsuits too! Very practical for cold, slushy days. I also saw parents dragging their kids through the sidewalks on sleds instead of using strollers (!).


February 27, 2015

Kari has shared many interesting stories of child-rearing in Norway that sound similar to what you saw in Denmark. I like the idea of babies sleeping out of doors. All that fresh air must be so good for them! Also – I’ve noticed that after growing up in the NW (here in the States), where it rains 300 days of the year – rain doesn’t bother me as much as people from other parts. Life just goes on and rubber boots are a must


Nina
February 27, 2015

I’m Norwegian and confirm everything you write in this blog post 🙂 This store shows some of what Scandinavian children will wear typically during winter time: http://www.polarnopyret.com


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Valerie
February 27, 2015

Oh yes the outdoorsuits. Being a German living in Sweden for quite a while now, I always thought I would dress my kids differently from all those weired swedish parants:) I could not have been more wrong. Now my two year old basicly lives in his darkblue woolunderwear, looking like a blast from the 70s and on top of that the outdoorsuit. Very practical indeed but sometimes I feel a tiny stinch of pity that I am not able to use all the other lovely children clothes around for about 7 months of the year!


Steph
February 27, 2015

Here in Chicago, my 8 year old wears P.O.P. leggings under his snow gear. Not very common here but very practical and more comfortable. He loves his P.O.P. leggings. His class mates would ask why he wore his PJs to school but have gotten use to seeing him this way.


February 27, 2015

Its same with sleeping babies in the prams in Czech,babies are outside as much as possible,I live in Canada now and you can practically see prams just in big cities here and there,otherwise babies in carseats -for stroll often ably on the mall.It took me long time to get used to it that Im often alone on the streets browsing with my kids.And yes for one piece suits,buying these up to 4 years as they dont come in bigger sizes often-best thing ever:)


February 27, 2015

Yes! I noticed those suits in Munich too!


Liliana
February 27, 2015

In Switzerland children go out to play at school in all sorts of weather, so must be equipped with the right clothing. My daughter’s school goes on a Nature Walk several times a year, rain or shine. Love the sleeping outside idea!


Synnove
February 27, 2015

In Norway some nursery teachers also wear these practical outdoor suits (yes, they come in adult sizes too!) to comfortably play with the kids outside in any weather! When my oldest started nursery school in London he was the only one with a set of rain gear in his cubby, and I was so disappointed to learn they were never used as they didn’t go outside if it rained!! -like the kids would have minded?


Courtney in London
February 27, 2015

How fascinating! I’ve heard this before, but I kind of didn’t believe it. So those ‘abandoned’ buggies outside of shops actually have sleeping babies in them?
And those outdoor suits really are so brilliant. We should also be better about getting outside, even in gross weather! xx


February 28, 2015

We lived in Denmark (near Århus) for three years and that’s one of the first things we noticed too. Moms even go to the gym, leave the kids outside and take baby monitors with them. I was never too comfortable with the idea of leaving the pram outside even when I went to the store where I could still see it – I tried it once and all I did the entire time was check on the pram 🙂 We still put our little one outside for the naps though. And the snowsuit is awesome! We always have at least one and use it the entire winter, my favourites are from Wheat, ver de Terre and Ticket to Heaven 🙂 They come in so handy!


Nina
February 28, 2015

And check out the ducksday suits as well! My kids love them! We are doing this layering as well… It’s the best to peel of the wet suit and be in snuggly (macarons) pants already 😉 x


February 28, 2015

In Poland where I live it’s common for children to have one long nap outside (1, 5-2 hours). My children spent all their naps outside (whatever the weather was) and my almost 3 years old is still napping outside, so I can confirm – children sleep very well outside!
And I can assure everyone that the weather is not the problem. I have never noticed any colds due to sleeping ooutside.


CarolineZ
February 28, 2015

At the daycare centres of the company I work for, in Amsterdam, the children sleep outside as much as possible. I know there are more crèches that do this. One of my friends, aged 60+, grew up in the northeast of The Netherlands and told me children used to nap outside.


Cecilia
April 17, 2015

to CarolineZ: we just moved from Copenhagen to Amsterdam and looking for a nursery where children sleep outside and also spend their time outside a lot. Is this the kind of place you work and what is that place called? Thank you for your help!;)


CarolineZ
September 8, 2015

Cecilia, I just saw your question. No idea if this will reach you or if you are still looking. I work at Hestia, see http://www.hestiakinderopvang.nl


Annet
March 1, 2015

It’s also an old dutch habit to put your baby sleeping outside in something like a rabitthouse. There are still a few daycares who use them. Look at abyhuisje.nl or lutjepot.nl .


Annet
March 1, 2015

It’s supposed to be babyhuisje.nl or lutjepotje.nl


March 2, 2015

You may find this interesting also Esther. Another ace Danish practise.
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22751415
x


Mel
March 2, 2015

Apparently this was common practice in the UK up until the 1970’s. I’m not sure if it was for health reasons (doubtful) or just because shops were tiny back then and couldn’t fit large prams, but I have been told by older relatives that it stopped because strangers were assualting (hitting etc…) children! I can’t be sure if that is the only or real reason it stopped. I hope it’s just because prams could fit inside the new supermarkets after this time.


Carrie
March 2, 2015

I saw some (obviously) Scandanavian tourists with a pram like this in a shopping centre here in central Italy recently. The little boy in it must have been close to 2.5yo… I was fascinated, and I’m sure staring a bit as I’d never seen anything like it! Very neat!


Anna
March 2, 2015

The all in one suits are called ‘flyverdragt’ which in English means flying suits – I think that’s pretty cute 🙂 when I lived in Canada I had my child outside a quiet cafe napping in his pram – I was sitting at the window in full view of him – of course we were asked to leave and sit outside with him – I love the freedom of outside napping here. It’s so good for the children to get fresh air!


March 2, 2015

I love reading about how parenting differs in Europe. Sometimes I feel like the Brits are far less ‘natural’ in their parenting than other European countries. They seem to be more practical and all of this makes perfect sense. I visited Copenhagen three years ago and the first thing I noticed was men baby wearing and pushing prams. There were so many of them and it was wonderful to see xx


Marietje
March 4, 2015

Pompdelux has some nice, payable, suits as well. It’s a Danish brand 😉


March 6, 2015

I loved reading this and thank you for sharing a glimpse into a different city’s lifestyle. We here in Australia would not dream of leaving the pram outside of the shop or cafe so I find this fascinating. It must feel like a real sense of community to trust strangers on the street. I visited Copenhagen a couple of years ago, and I absolutely fell in love with the city (despite the freezing weather). I’ve enjoyed your post, thank you!
Vesna from Once Upon a Monday
http://onceuponamonday.com/


March 7, 2015

My mom used to have one of those covers for the pram! I know that time spent outside is one of the best things for a child! My mom used to take us outside all the time, and I have glorious memories of playing in the creeks and riding my bikes outside. Its one of the best things my mom did, because it helped me use my imagination. It also kept me active! I love my mom! Mom’s are so important!


Sara
February 17, 2017

We have just visited Copenhagen and noticed the suits and pram s too. Our daughter is 2 and son 8. Such a great idea is I’ll be looking to purchase one for our daughter.


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