The older my two boys are, the more I am evaluating my parenting and how it is done differently in Finland. I am a strong believer that some basic nurturing can make you a better mother and change the outcome to your child. Some of the following Finnish practices start from when you have a baby, but you can definitely corporate these to your lifestyle no matter how old your kids are or where you live.
Kids are not adults
Do not treat your kids like they are adults. Kids are kids. They will make mistakes and they will learn from them. They will be naughty, and they will need to be guided to correct their behavior but do not expect kids to be adults and to be able to process all the feedback like we adults do. We should respect their boundaries and gently guide them towards behavior that is acceptable. Parents should understand that kids brain are not as developed as adult’s. Some part of the brain is not fully matured until they are in their early 20’s. We should bare this in mind when handling those difficult moments – take a deep breath and remember that kids are not adults.
Kids should remain kids as long as possible
This follows from the first point. We don’t need to start pushing the idea of the child to be independent too early. We want them to be depend on parents as we can teach them the right from wrong. We should rejoice the fact that they are coming to us for advice as long as possible. This means that they trust us as a parent. We should support the child in their childhood to discover new things and learn from their mistakes. We should not push them to learn everything and be ready to be accountable and responsible of their mistakes. At the end of the day, longer they remain kids, the better.
Learning through play
The best present to give to your child is time. To play with your kids is the best kind of parenting there is. We do not need to have the newest gadgets to be a good parent. We just need to pay attention to our child and turn off the smart phone and concentrate on playing with our kids. Playing signals acceptance and caring for the child. It also increases the level of oxytocin ( feel good hormone) in the adult. And remember playing is not putting yourself to same level with a child but being there and being part of the playing weather it is saying how cute their new car looks, talking to them about their day or just looking at the big jump they are doing with their new shoes.
There is no bad weather just inadequate clothing
This saying is my favorite one. I read it on article quite a while back. It is quite true that we do not have proper clothing to accommodate the change of weather here in Australia. As soon as there is a rain people disappear inside. But why? When there is +40 C heat on, everyone is outside but when the weather is windy, rainy and stormy no one wants to be playing outside. I am curious about this as we are all weather parents. When it rains we are outside cycling. When it is stormy we are in the beach looking for stones for garden bed. You got the picture? You need to have layers on and I think that is the problem. Here shops do not cater for wind, rain and bad weather because we live in Australia and the weather is good all the time. Or so we want to believe.
Sleeping your baby outside in a pram
Yes, it is true. We Finns love to sleep our babies in pram outside in a cold weather. This tradition started back in the 1920’s and there are some studies which confirm that the kids sleep longer and better (uninterrupted) in cold weather. The study also stated how the level of sleep was deeper and longer. Sleeping is important to babies as they learn while they are sleeping hence, perhaps, this is linked to the academic success of Finnish school system as well.
Want to know some more about Finnish Style of Parenting? Read Any Partanen author of The Nordic Theory of Everything