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Mom credits 164-year-old Swedish secret of 'Friluftsliv' for raising resilient and happy kids

Author and mom, Linda Åkeson McGurk, shares that the 'Friluftsliv' concept is an easy and interesting way to teach kids about resilience, gratitude and more!

Mom credits 164-year-old Swedish secret of 'Friluftsliv' for raising resilient and happy kids
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @rainorshinemamma

There are several tips and tricks given to parents for raising children and preparing them for their future as adults. Linda Åkeson McGurk, a Swedish author and speaker, credits a 164-year-old Swedish parenting concept as one of the most creative and effective ways to raise one’s child to be happy and resilient. In an op-ed published by CNBC, the mother-of-two highlighted that many of her beliefs stemmed from the concept of “friluftsliv” and that she swears by the method. She mentioned that she was introduced to “friluftsliv”—which roughly translates to “open air”—while growing up herself. The translation itself reveals the simplicity yet gravity of the concept.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Linda Åkeson McGurk (@rainorshinemamma)


 

McGurk said, “The 164-year-old concept of friluftsliv is all about embracing nature, and it is a big part of Swedish culture.” She also added that she allowed her kids to go out and climb trees, play with and around elements of nature and so on. The mom, who is the author of “Open Air Life” and “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather,” explained that a large part of the Swedish community loves this practice. Her books, values and career are all driven by the concept of “friluftsliv.” “I’ve found that ’friluftsliv’ isn’t just a way to instill healthy habits in children at a young age—it’s also a major reason why the Nordic countries are usually ranked among the world’s happiest,” the mom mentioned.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Linda Åkeson McGurk (@rainorshinemamma)


 

The mom further shared three tips to enhance living by incorporating “friluftsliv” in life. Just a simple practice of acknowledging and embracing the outdoors adds to building up children and shaping their outlook on life’s experiences. The first tip is to schedule outdoor time.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Linda Åkeson McGurk (@rainorshinemamma)


 

McGurk explained that in Swedish countries, much of the chores are carried out beyond the houses. She suggested walks in the mornings or evenings, which are a vibrant part of Swedish culture. She also added having dinner or conversations outdoors. “In Nordic countries, it’s also common to see outdoor kindergartens or forest schools, where children spend the vast majority of the time in nature,” the mom said.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Linda Åkeson McGurk (@rainorshinemamma)


 

She even recommended walking to closer destinations than using vehicles to make up for outdoor time when one is busy or tied down with chores. Next up, McGurk said, “Start with where you are.” She highlighted that people don’t need separate or tedious efforts to enjoy the “friluftsliv” concept. “Nature is all around us, and even in more urban environments, there are still birds to watch, flowers to smell and trees to hug,” the mom said. She ensures parents that while a hike and walk in the woods can be refreshing and exciting, even a simple stroll outside a home near trees or plants with the fresh air works just as fine.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Linda Åkeson McGurk (@rainorshinemamma)


 

The focus is to give children a glimpse of the calm and serenity nature offers. Her last tip is, “Don’t let the weather ruin your day.” McGurk said “the ’friluftsliv’ tradition encourages us to find something to love about every season.” She stressed another Swedish phrase parents use that reads, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” While the mom cautions parents that extreme weather is to be avoided, she also adds, “We have so much to gain by dressing children for the weather and letting them experience the joy of running through the pouring rain, sliding over icy puddles, and cooling off in the water sprinkler on a hot day.”


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Linda Åkeson McGurk (@rainorshinemamma)


 

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