Sweden

May 24, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I took a short trip to Stockholm, Sweden. Polarn O. Pyret knew I was a fan, so they invited me and Jordan to visit their headquarters and get a behind-the-scenes look. I was impressed. And I want to tell you all about it. But before I do, we need to talk about Sweden.

First off: Gorgeous. The city was gorgeous. The people were gorgeous. Super model gorgeous.

Second. My impression is that the entire country is like one big Waldorf school. Very wholesome, with lots of time spent outdoors. People work hard and enjoy their leisure time. The Swedes we chatted with joked about raising their kids like Pippi Longstocking — with lots of play and independence.

Third. They do childhood differently than we do in the states. So different. Every single day, children spend hours outside. Every single day without exception. Rain, snow, below zero temperatures. This is not me exaggerating. It’s the real deal. Every. Single. Day.

There are preschools that don’t even have a building! They are held entirely out of doors. From drop-off to pick-up. Snack time, play time, learning time all happen outside. And these preschools are not for the fringe thinkers, these are one of several regular options that parents pick from. Are you dying?!

Also. Babies in Sweden nap outside. All naps are outside. The babies are bundled up, put in the stroller and rolled out to the porch where they nap for hours at a time — in every kind of weather. Now are you dying?!!!

Let’s also remember, that Sweden is super far north. Like moose north. It’s cold up there!

So how do they do it? Well, every person I talked to said it was all about the gear. In fact, they have a Swedish saying that roughly translates to: There is no bad weather, just bad clothing. They are super serious about their cold weather wear.

This is getting long, so I’ll follow up with a post about the actual visit to the Polarn O. Pyret headquarters later on. In the meantime, I’d love your thoughts. What’s your take on outdoor time every day? Would you be up for it? Would your kids?

P.S. — How can you not love a country that came up with H&M, Ikea and Hasbeens? I love the Swedish appreciation for design! I snapped these photos at stores, hotels — even the airport.

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{ 220 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alison Dear May 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm

awesome! I had heard that about them putting their children out in the cold…..makes me feel less like a terrible mother for letting my little ones run around half-dressed outside :).

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2 Damaris @Kitchen Corners May 24, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I would love to visit Sweden one day? My favorite thing about Sweden is this, http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/ David and Luise are our friends. I want to visit them so badly. The only reason why we were able to actually meet in real life is because Sweden had amazing Maternity and Paternity leave. Maybe my favorite thing about Sweden is the way they respect parents.

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3 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 4:55 am

Thanks for the link, Damaris. I look forward to checking it out.

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4 From Belgium May 25, 2011 at 12:41 am

Sweden is my dream holiday destination. I did Norway, Finland and Denmark with my parents, but we never got around to doing Sweden, so my life will not be complete before I have been there.

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5 andrea May 25, 2011 at 12:52 am

ha! your post cracked me up! you’re funny. i didn’t know that swedish kids play outside for hours at a time, but i did know about the napping. I learned about it from oprah, of all people. it blew my mind – in a good way – it’s so different than how we live. i live in seattle (where it rains, yes it does) and some days i worry about taking my baby out in the rain. :) i need to just keep in mind that as long as he is in good clothing, not bad clothing, he’s fine!

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6 Dariela May 25, 2011 at 1:24 am

Wow! Fascinating to read about all this. I still can’t believe about the preschool with no buildings! I don’t think I could do the outdoors with cold weather… Coming from Venezuela I’m still used to warm caribbean sun even though I haven’t lived there for more than 10 years!
I would love to visit Sweden for their great design too! Eye candy!

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7 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 4:56 am

Maybe it’s because I was born in Southern California, but I crave the warm sun too!

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8 Monica May 25, 2011 at 2:28 am

Can you let me know where those polka dot and flower mugs were shot? I’m in love!

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9 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 5:11 am

Shoot! I don’t remember the name of the store. It was sort of a hardware store, but it had office supplies too. If you’re Swedish and you recognize the goods, will you please share the name of the store?

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10 Paula May 27, 2011 at 6:56 am

Could ti be Clas Ohlson?

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11 Anna May 25, 2011 at 2:28 am

Wow. This was wonderful reading for a Swedish mother living in Stockholm! I’m glad you enjoyed your visit, Gabrielle, and that Polarn O. Pyret took good care of you. Let me know when you’re coming back and I’ll buy you a coffee :)

It’s been great reading the comments. Sometimes you need to see your life from outside to really appreciate it! So let me just tell you that yes, it’s true. We do spend a lot of time outdoors, children in pre-school especially, and it all boils down to the fact that the weather isn’t always what we wish for. If we waited for sun and clear skies we could wait forever. And we’re way too pragmatic for that. So the right gear all the time makes outdoor play possible in any weather. No pretty dresses à la France or kneesocks and shorts in November as in Britain, we do it the boring and practical way. (Ok, we do pretty dresses as well, but always with some kind of waterproof gear on top. Or jeans under… Yep, it’s all about what works for playing.) Having said that, I dropped my daughter off this morning dressed in nothing practical at all, but that’s also a true sign of the season. When summer comes, we all go a little crazy.

Sweden is a wonderful country to raise children. We do have a very generous policy on parental leave and childcare is very affordable, but as the lovely Norwegian reader pointed out above, we pay for it through taxes. (So worth it, if you ask me.)

Thanks again for making me look at my life from your point of view! Lovely to see all the cheering on and praise in the comments. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Love,
Anna in Stockholm

PS. Leaving your baby in the pram while your going into the store etc is getting less and less common here, bigger in Denmark I think. My mother’s generation did it for sure, though.

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12 Summer Lewis May 25, 2011 at 2:54 am

We live in Japan and kids here are frequently outdoors as well, and usually without any adult supervision. All of my American friends think it’s nuts. But I love it. Every little neighborhood seems to have a small park, and the crime rate is so low that parents don’t need to stress about their kids being outside. And they sell the cutest rain gear here (because man alive do we ever get rain!).

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13 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 4:57 am

Japan is so super cool!

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14 Anja May 25, 2011 at 3:38 am

Your next post could be: “Look, that’s June taking her nap in our beautiful garden. (include many lovely pictures right here) She fell asleep while looking at the leaves of the tree and watching the clouds pass by on the big blue sunny sky. Doesn’t she look calm and dreamy? (More pictures) She woke up nicely refreshed and happily pointing at flowers and birds. She was very hungry! (picture of June eating some french quiche). All the other kids want to sleep outside now too. Maybe in the treehouse? Wouldn’t that be fun?” ;)

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15 Sara May 25, 2011 at 3:39 am

Glad you liked Sweden, another who was raised here see it differently :).

I’m am now studying in Visby, on Gotland (to archaeologist) and every day I see and walks inside the medieval walls. The walls are amazing but when you see them every day, you forget what a fantastic legacy they are.
I think you get a little spoiled with the things you see every day that you take it for granted.

However Visby is lovely in summer but utter death in the winter (all icy winds from the sea). Brr…

Sorry for my bad english, hope you understand, hehe.

Love your blog, keep up the good work!

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16 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 4:58 am

I think you’re right, Sara. It’s easy to take the beauty around us for granted. I have to keep telling myself to just observed and admire the details in our current house so that I don’t forget how lucky we are to live here.

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17 Astrantia May 25, 2011 at 5:06 am

I loved this post and your observations. I am a reader from Finland and we raise our children pretty much the same as in Sweden. My children wear Polarn o. Pyret in winter, of course! They have very good selection of winter gear for children. Good shoes, wool underlayer, warm socks etc. are all essential winter gear. I have lived in Stocholm and it is the most beautiful and friendly city.

One more thing that is particular to Swedish family life: fathers. In Sweden fathers can take very long, paid leaves of absence to take care of their children. If look around in cafes in Stockholm, you see all these fathers drinking coffee with babies!

I really enjoy reading about your family life in France. You seem to take full advantage of the opportunity to learn and enjoy. I admire your attitude towards life!

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18 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 5:10 am

I love that, Astrantia! Fathers with babies always make me smile.

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19 Maisa May 25, 2011 at 5:42 am

It’s really interesting to read about your opinions on Swedish child-rearing , since we do it pretty much the same way in Finland, too. Scandinavians tend to be very down-to-earth, modern and practical about things.

I have an 18-month-old daughter. She has slept outside from since she was two weeks old. It was pretty cold when she was born, so at the hospital they recommended we wait for two weeks before going outside. However, we did walk home from the hospital with her in the stroller.
We got around 10 months of paid parental leave, of which I used the most and my partner used the last month. Then my partner got back to work and I stayed home with our daughter. You can stay home and take care of your child until they are three years old. You get paid for it too, but the sum isn’t large (around 500 euros per month in Helsinki, depending on your child’s age). When our daughter was born, my partner got three weeks off from work – fully paid. It was great learning to take care of our daughter together.
You also get child benefit depending on the number of children you have: 100€ for you first child, 110€ for your second, 141€ for your third etc. So, if you have three children, you get 351€ per month in child benefits. You get the same amount irrespective of income, but you get more if you are a single parent. Also, when your baby is born, you get the so-called maternity grant: mothers can choose between a maternity package containing child care items and a cash benefit of 140 euros (tax free). I chose the package and got tons of stuff, such as a warm sleeping bag, winter overalls, blanket, nail scissors, mattress, storybook, lots of clothes, a towel etc. The package is worth a lot more than 140 euros.

We live in Helsinki and with my daughter in her stroller I get to use the public transport for free. The public transport system is very handy here. No need for a car. I believe the reason for people leaving their children unattended in strollers outside of cafés and shops is simple: I’ve never ever heard of baby being kidnapped in Finland by an adult. I remember one instance when a baby was lost and found a little later: a child had taken him. This happened in a small town and the baby was taken from his parents’ backyard.
I don’t mind paying taxes. Our hospital bill was 240 euros when our daughter was born. That included everything: five nights in the hospital for me and three for my partner, the birth, meals for both me and my partner (and the little bit of donated milk for our daughter), medication, diapers, my clothing etc. We had a room for ourselves with our own bathroom and shower, television and dvd player (not that we had any interest in watching movies at that time).
Oh, and in Finland children normally start school when they are seven years old. Before that they have one year of pre-school but I don’t know if it’s compulsory.

Oops, this was one long message. Next time I’ll try to make it short!:)

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20 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 5:48 am

So interesting, Maisa! I love learning how parenting is done in different cultures.

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21 senja May 25, 2011 at 6:21 am

It’s so fun to see that you were in my country! :) Well, the country I live in at least. As my mother is Finnish we grew up with almost the same traditions as the Swedes. I also used to sleep outside in my stroller, bundled up in a thick blanket, etc. I still love to sleep outside in a tent, maybe it’s because of that.

It’s also so interesting to really see that what is so normal to me and my upbringing is so new to other cultures. But Swedes are anyway very outdoorsy, but less than Finns.

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22 Maisa May 25, 2011 at 8:14 am

Oh, and another thing:
I referred to my “husband” as partner, since we’re not married (and not even engaged). That’s also common in Scandinavia, having children out of wedlock. I guess we could get married, since we’ve been together for eight years, of which we’ve lived together for six. I don’t know if it’s the society’s lack of pressure that keeps people from getting married: it’s OK not to be married and have children.
And if/when we do get married, I wouldn’t even consider taking my husband’s name. This is a common trend in my circle of friends, of whom most are unmarried parents with long monogamous relationships.

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23 Erin May 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

These days, my destination country, if I got to live somewhere else, is either Finland or Sweden. And I consider them kind of similar. Now, as far as Swedes living far north, I’m sure they’re north of us (Minnesota, nearly the Arctic Circle, as far as I’m concerned), but around here, there is no way on earth I would let kids be outside every single day during the winter. I won’t even go outside! The temps can dip to -40, and we can have a streak of several days with that. I absolutely love being outside and adore the Swedes’ emphasis on outdoor living–sounds like a dream–but I just don’t see how it could be pulled off here, even with serious, technical clothing. All the same, I kind of wish a lot more of Sweden would rub off here. A preschool sans building, not fringe? Wow. And yet, here I type on the computer…inside…sigh.

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24 Erin May 25, 2011 at 10:09 am

p.s. Read the comments about babies left in strollers outside–one of my Finnish friends informed me about that norm, and I was flabbergasted. I kind of assumed it was legend. Can you imagine doing that in the states? I have another friend who spotted a baby by itself in a car in a parking lot, and called the police. Crime is just too rampant here, the risk is too high of something bad happening. It would blow my mind to be living in such a safe culture as Sweden.

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25 Design Mom May 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

Blows my mind too!

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26 Anna Lewis May 25, 2011 at 11:29 am

I need to be more committed to getting my son outside! I didn’t worry so much about the cold (though many don’t consider freezing to be cold) but the sun. I’ve always been so fair and so is he. He’s 15 months now and BEGS to go outside. He won’t wear a hat, so it’s sunscreen city. Then he’s trying to eat rocks, stepping in dog poo, or picking green tomatoes. Sigh. But, other than the dog poo situation, none of that is too big of a deal. I do wish there was a park within walking distance. I remember being outside all the time as a child. I think in America adults spend too much time indoors – which is why our kids do.

This reminds me of my pet peeve about elementary schools using recess as a privilege. If you were tardy, talked out of turn, didn’t do homework, etc. no outside playtime. But often, wasn’t it the kids with too much energy that were acting up? Recess should be a right. Not a privilege.

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27 Katie May 25, 2011 at 11:34 am

Great post, Gabby! I love getting a glimpse into a different culture. Sweden sounds amazing.

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28 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:21 am

Thanks, Katie! Wouldn’t it be neat to travel to lots of different countries and meet with mothers and hear their stories?

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29 Annika May 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Hoy, don’t forget Finland ;)

Finland is right next door to sweden and we are pretty much the same in many ways. Winters are colder here than in Sweden, so we need to gear up even more. Our kids(and us) spend about 6 months out of the year dressed up in warm wintersuits. Then comes spring suits(like the Polarn O. Pyret ones on the post above). Summer is short but hot.

Yes, we also put our babies outside to sleep, they just happen to sleep better. We also spend lots of time outdoors, even in -25C.

Finnish maternity leave is also similar to the Swedish. And guess what? IN Finland EVERY mom gets a maternity package before baby is born! It has clothes for the baby, diapers and everything really that a newborn needs.

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30 jennifer c May 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm

sweden sounds dreamy. i have only been to denmark once, but i tend to fantasize about scandinavia as a whole. my kids are outside a lot from fall through spring, but now that we live in the south and summer is upon us, the mosquitos are tortuous. i used to escape to the ocean when i liked back east (and take long naps there in the shade of a beach umbrella), but that isn’t possible here.

i dislike using bug repellent, and am not sure how effective it is, but you know those bugs can carry nasty diseases. and my babies seem like candy to those squitos. i am trying to be respectful of life, but i think it would be just fine if mosquitos would go extinct.

does anyone have a suggestions about how to deal with mosquitos?

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31 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:22 am

I remember hearing about a hand and body lotion from Avon that wasn’t created as bug repellant, but that works really well. Does anybody know the name?

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32 Susie May 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Skin sense i think

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33 Macarena May 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm

My brother in law is from Finland, and when mi niece was born (middle of december) it was completly normal for him ro take out Graziana at minus 20C!! We are from latinamerica and when is 18C is already cold in our minds….

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34 kristin May 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm

i met some swedish women and hung out with them for about 9 m while they were here with their husbands during a project in the states. i was amazed at how unflinching they were about the weather, at least until i saw their gear. most of it is really well put together and looks like it lasts. i know i’d be out more if that we the case. i think i’d love to have my kids be outside plenty during the school day- but wouldn’t mind the opportunity to have the children ushered inside if needed (thinking of the midwest tornados/crazy thunderstorms right at this moment!)
and just reading about the french lunch hour is divine- and would help my slow-poke eater… i don’t feel the need for him to eat a meal in 20 minutes or less!

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35 Miss Stovetop May 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I think its amazing to be outside for so long. And with child obesity on an increasingly alarming rise, it might just be the ideal solution :)

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36 Lisa H. May 25, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I love, love, love this idea! I think cold/rainy/snowy weather is easier to deal with than hot and humid. You can always put layers on, but you can only take off so much!

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37 Linda May 25, 2011 at 6:29 pm

As a Swede currently living in California it was fun reading all these comments. You guys make Sweden sound so good that I want to move back! :)
Well I am moving back after the summer and when I do I will miss stuff from here. There is stuff that is better here and stuff that is better in Sweden. I just wish I could have the best of two worlds.
But one thing is for sure when it is a little chilly and rainy outside we are the only ones at the playground here in California.

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38 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:24 am

I feel the same way, Linda. Every country seems to have wonderful things to offer. Makes me want to collect the best ideas from around the world.

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39 grace May 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm

My kids are outside for hours most days. Although I admit we avoid rain.
Naps happen inside. Unless its summertime.

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40 Jody Nebesnik May 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Wow! Almost 200 comments! I am enjoying reading them all and was totally inspired by this post. I am happy to say that we spent the entire day outside today! Of course it doesn’t hurt that it was 75 degrees and beautiful.

Gabrielle, if it hasn’t been covered in the comments (I haven’t made it all the way through) I have some questions. How warmly are the babies dressed when they go out for their nap? If they are in a stroller, where do they keep the stroller if it’s raining? Does everyone have one of those little chicken-coop-looking (sorry I forgot what they were called) structures outside?
Also, how do you dress a pre-schooler if it’s cold AND raining outside? Does raingear go over a jacket and snowpants? I’m thinking of my kids, but also MYSELF. Like you said, I am a wimp in cold weather and this post makes me feel like I need to toughen up! Would love more details on any of this.
Thanks again for new inspiration!!

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41 Linda May 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm

As a swede I take the liberty to answer some of your questions.

How warmly are the babies dressed?
Well that depends on the weather and the stroller and the bedding in the stroller. In the winter the kids usually have a little sleepingbag especially made for strollers. It is actually very important not to over dress the little ones. It gets really varm in the stroller and the little sleepingbag.

Raining? Most strollers resist water pretty well and comes with a raincover that will keep the rain away. But outside the house or preeschool there is often a covered porch where you can place the stroller.

Preschooler clothes in cold and rain? See cold and rain often comes together in Sweden. Most fall/winterclothes are waterresistant. See the post about different layers of Clothes here at Design Mom.

I hope that answered some of your questions.

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42 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 2:24 am

Thanks for chiming in with more info, Linda.

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43 Jody Nebesnik May 26, 2011 at 7:45 am

Yes! Thank you! Maybe if I start gathering our gear now we’ll be ready for the winter. :)

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44 Fernanda May 26, 2011 at 4:08 am

My God, so many posts!!! I started reading and then gave up. Imagine, Gabrielle, I live in Sweden, and I´m from Brazil!!! This was a big change! And still I´m getting used to the weather, but if you´ve been in the south of Sweden, where I live, you will see that is much better. I write a blog about our experiences, unfortunatlly, mainly in portuguese, but thinking about writing in English. You are a role model to me. Love your thoughts and the way you live your life… If you have time, come see my page.. I´m new on that and accept any kind of suggestions! Kisses.

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45 Jill Di Pietro May 26, 2011 at 5:06 am

Now I finally understand the Swedish/American friend I just made while ice skating here this winter. We just had a play date and I asked her how her three little kids are already so tan since its still early spring, and she said they’ve been playing outside almost naked since February! And yes, I was totally dying! Even for a temperate climate, that’s cold! And our play date was like four hours long out in the sun! I was so exhausted by the end! But I have to admit they are the most beautiful bunch of kids I’ve ever seen! And even on a budget, the mom dresses super sleek. Thanks for this post!

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46 Paula May 26, 2011 at 5:47 am

Found your gorgeus blog through P.O.P FB. Many of the things you mention are something that we take for granted in Nordic countries. Nice to read about somebody else’s thoughts on it.

My kids have never been too keen on sleeping in the pram. However, it is a common practice. This winter in Finland we had public discussion about how cold it can be to let children sleep outdoors. The consensus seemed to be around -15 – -20C.

Good outwear is essential here. I prefer Finnish Reima and Danish Ticket in addition to P.O.P. I’m not a big fan on fleece, but being a fanatic knitter, prefer wool.

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47 Design Mom May 26, 2011 at 6:22 am

How great to have that be a topic of public discussion!

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48 Paula May 27, 2011 at 5:52 am

Yes, I think they are worried that mothers wouldnt realise that themselves ;) No, but honestly, there was a study by a doctoral student Ms Tourula about children sleeping outdoors. The study recommended being extra careful already when the temperature sinks below -5C (which is nearly every day from Nov to March here) although most parents consider -10 – -15C still OK. Some let their children sleep outdoors as low as -30C. This is because for some reason most children sleep better out in the pram. Clothing is vital and they reminded it is surprisingly difficult to dress the child properly. Even sleeping bags we commonly use aren’t as warm as we think.

Here’s a link to her earlier article:
http://blog.uwgb.edu/nursing/wp-content/uploads/nursing/2010/11/Tourulaetal2008.pdf

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49 Lindsey May 26, 2011 at 8:09 am

Wow. The whole outdoors all the time makes me think the Swedish are living MY version of the American dream! Thanks for sharing!

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50 Kiasa May 26, 2011 at 11:06 am

This post made me laugh. I’m totally saying “yes” to everything here. Mostly in theory, not in practice. Kids should play outside, no matter the weather! I’ve been researching schooling for my oldest who starts kindergarten this fall and I’m all about waldorf. Too bad there aren’t any in NYC (if there were we wouldn’t pay tuition anyway). But I’m about 50% Swedish (some from both sides of my family), so I’m thinking all this love of outside play is in my genes.

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51 bdaiss May 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Yup, my kids are outdoors all the time, no matter the weather. In face I think my son prefers the ickier weather. We also have been taking them camping from the get go. One reason I love where we live is how surrounded by nature we are and the ability to turn my kids out the door and not (overly) fret about them.

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52 Deidra May 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm

It seems like it’s so much easier to be outside in bad weather (rain, snow, sleet, etc) than it is to be outside in hot weather. I’m new to the midwest (coming from the intermountain west), but going outside when it’s 85 and 80% humidity is pretty miserable. You can only get so naked! Babies aren’t so good at regulating temperatures so I’m wary of spending too much time outside with my six week old. The weather seems so much worse when there isn’t clothing that can solve the problem.

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53 Elina May 27, 2011 at 10:14 am

Really interesting to read your thoughts on this topic… We are from Finland and have lived in lots of different places with our kids. I’ve always followed the “Nordic” schedule with our kids… As babies I used to take my kids at least twice for a long walk regardless of the weather. Really good exercise for mom as well!!! And now everyday at around 9.30 we go out with the kids (regardless of the weather) and go back home for lunch at 11.30. Then naptime and by 3.00 after snacktime we go out again until it’s time for dinner.

During our time abroad we’ve had really funny looks when our kids are geared up in snowsuits or top to toe rain gear etc. For example in winter I feel a bit sorry for kids when I see them playing in the park in the cold in uggs, dresses/jeans and down jackets without gloves… Kids need snowsuits, good warm boots, waterproof warm gloves etc!

http://www.polarnopyretusa.com/index/page/static/subpage/properly_dressed

I had never heard of the Lutje Potje… It looks funny, but really useful!

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54 Swedish Dekor May 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Great stuff. We love your style and we love what you have done! Keep up the great work. For some traditional Swedish design tips you may want to check out our design blog at http://www.swedishdekor.com/_blog/Design_Blog

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55 Monica May 28, 2011 at 7:22 am

Wow….all I can say is, wow!

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56 Tammy May 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Hurray for highlighting Sweden! Married to a Swede, Swedish my self….lived there and now calling home in Utah- it is fun to talk differences! Loved all the comments, but think it is funny to say “all babies nap outside!” It is like the conversation of me and my husband talking about ALL Swedish women not shaving their legs-EVER. When the more correct thing to not say ALL and EVER. I am a fan of the napping outside and have gotten so used to the idea over the years I forget how different of an idea it is for Americans!

My sister in law, Malin Holm is a Swedish artist and designer she has amazing jewelry-
http://www.malinlholm.com/R-dgrind.html

She has the most adorable name for her business, Red gate designs. (translates just as gorgeous as the place it is named after!)

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57 Kate The Great May 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I met Swedes during the Curling event at the Salt Lake City Olympics; they let me join their cheering section and become n honorary Swede for an hour or two. Not only is their country beautiful, but the people are friendly, too.

There’s a cooking show on Create called New Scandinavian Cooking that features places like Sweden and Norway. I’d love to visit in the summer, someday.

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58 Kate The Great May 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Also, my toddler and I take a walk outside every day, rain or shine. He just loves outside–he loves watching cars on the roads outside our apartment complex and cars in the parking lots of our complex. He loves hearing birds and meeting dogs. He loves walking in grass and playing in puddles–and we live in Oregon, so we have lots of puddles.

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59 Piper May 31, 2011 at 9:15 pm

SO in love with the pretty much any Swedish design…thanks for the awesome pics! I would love to make it there at some point in this life=)

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60 Sharon June 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I visited Sweden for the first time in March and I absolutely LOVED it! I used to nap outside as a child (in the UK) in all weathers. My two enjoyed the odd nap outside too but I loved the fact that Swedes adore walking and being outside, it made me want to adopt that lifestyle once I’d come home.

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61 Rachel in AK June 3, 2011 at 11:43 am

So many interesting comments!! Alaska has the same saying ONLY BAD GEAR!! Both my boys (ages 8 and 2) spend hours outside every day even in sub zero weather. Though we may not be as cool or stylish as the Swedes, my boys, including the wee one, love playing in the snow or rain. The little one enjoys chest deep snow and cries when I bring him inside the house. My oldest identifies himself as an outdoor kid and tells me how frustrated he feels when his friends come to visit but only want to play in the house.

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62 Katie June 9, 2011 at 9:50 am

when we were a family of 5, several years ago, we lived in Stockholm while my husband worked for an international company. We can confirm that ALL you’ve said is true, and we have adopted many Swedish cultural attitudes and traditions to be our own. We LOVE swedish modern design; but we also love the old swedish country look with wooden benches, white washed everything and LOts of natural light. We still use all our Swedish rain gear and our children have taken many naps in the double PRAM that was our main source of transport for them while living there. We celebrate the winter Lucia Holiday every year and deliver Swedish rolls to our neighbors and friends, and many years we also host a Swedish Midsummer holiday in summer. Our love for the people and culture is real and lasting, even 10 years after living there. So happy you could highlight one of the most innovative and industrious cultures on our planet! Thanks for the chance to see how our beloved city is doing after many years away!

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63 Jennifer F. - American Mom in Bordeaux May 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Got to enjoy a long weekend in Stockholm this past March..and I concur with your observations. I was lucky enough to stay with a college roomate of mine who married a Swede. Their son attends a preschool right near their house and yes, he’s outside ALL the time. Childhood is about play, and exploration. The Swedes figure you have adulthood to work – so enjoy your childhood!

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