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Danish Parenting

Zenia February 14, 2023 0 comments

Explore the unique approach of Danish parenting, something that has always fascinated me as a Dane. Denmark is well-known for being one of the happiest countries in the world, and our way of life has piqued the interest of people worldwide.

However, the Danish parenting approach can often seem strange to people from other countries, including Canada. Despite these differences, there’s much we can learn from each other, and by examining the contrasts between Danish and Canadian parenting, we can gain a better understanding of what works best for our children. So let’s delve deeper into the nuances of these two distinct parenting styles and find out what makes them stand out.


Free Play

Firstly, in Denmark, parents tend to be more relaxed about parenting. Children are encouraged to explore their surroundings and make their own decisions. There is a strong emphasis on free play and unstructured time.

In Canada, on the other hand, there is a greater emphasis on structured activities and schedules. Children are often enrolled in extracurricular activities from a young age, and parents are more involved in their children’s lives.

In fact, one thing I have noticed during my five years of living in Canada is that Canadian parents are always with their children on the playground. They either sit and watch them or even play with them.

In Denmark, parents watch their children sometimes from the window but would otherwise leave their kids to play alone.



Another key difference is in the attitude towards discipline. In Denmark, parents use a more democratic approach to discipline, where children are encouraged to have a say in family decisions.

For example, I have a Danish friend who involves her children in discussions about the family’s weekly schedule. They talk about what activities they want to do, and together they come up with a plan that works for everyone. This approach instills a sense of responsibility and ownership in the children.

In contrast, Canadian parents tend to use a more authoritative approach to discipline, where rules are established and enforced by the parent.

Again, this difference in parenting style can be attributed to cultural and societal factors, and it’s interesting to see how it plays out in the lives of families in both countries



In terms of food, Danish parents tend to be more relaxed about what their children eat. They encourage their children to try new foods and don’t place as much emphasis on healthy eating.

For example, when I was less than 10 years old, I even tried my first beer with my dad. Of course, this was back in the 90s, and things have become a bit more regulated since then.

In Canada, there is a greater emphasis on healthy eating, and parents are more likely to monitor what their children are eating. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to reflect on how cultural and societal factors can shape our attitudes towards food and alcohol, both as children and as adults.


Family time

Finally, both Danish and Canadian parents place a high value on spending time with their families. However, in Denmark, there is a greater emphasis on quality time spent together, while in Canada, there is a greater emphasis on quantity of time spent together.

In Denmark, we have a concept called “hygge,” which refers to a feeling of coziness and contentment that comes from spending time with loved ones in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. This often involves activities such as lighting candles, enjoying good food, and engaging in meaningful conversations.

While Canadian families also prioritize spending time together, it may take the form of structured activities or outings, such as going to the movies or playing sports.


In conclusion, while there are some differences between Danish and Canadian parenting styles, both countries have the same goal in mind: to raise happy, healthy, and well-adjusted children. Whether you are a Danish parent or a Canadian parent, the most important thing is to find a parenting style that works for you and your family

What are your thoughts on parenting styles in Denmark and Canada? Do you agree with the differences described in this article, or have you experienced something different? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

If you’re a new mom like me, you might want to check out my other blog post where I share my personal experiences and tips for navigating this exciting but challenging journey! Click here!

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