I grew up thinking that the expression “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” was a Canadian turn of phrase. Oh how wrong I was! Now that my eldest has reached public school age, I am learning more and more how wrong I was, but also how very lucky I was to have a mom that made me get outside, made me play and explore our neighbourhood, unhindered by the restrictions of an adult, making mistakes as well as creations with my little brother: the antithesis to the paradigm of twenty-first century parenting that I now have to navigate.
Ever heard of the term “free range parenting“? “Or, as it is also known in Scandinavia, ‘parenting’.” (p. 171).
I was out walking our dog, Sally, when I laughed out loud upon hearing this while listening to the audiobook version of Linda Åkeson McGurk‘s There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather. If you appreciate this bit of wit then you will love this heartwarming exploration of Swedish parenting style that promotes children get outside, often independently, as McGurk provides countless examples of a society that believes in its future generation and their abilities to learn and grow.
The only drawback of this book is that you may want to move to Scandinavia. You’ve been warned!
McGurk’s book is eight chapters long, with each chapter concluding in a “Scandinavian Parenting Tip”. The chapters contain both anecdotal and scientific evidence, plus solid tips on how to get outside with your kids. Practical and informative nuggets to help you, as a parent or educator.
At the end of the book there is an extensive References section, with many of the resources listed as available online for easy access. Plus, McGurk’s philosophy is summarized in a wonderful and inspiring conclusion: “A Scandinavian Mother’s ‘Get Up and Go Outside’ Manifesto” (p. 257).
If you are looking for ideas on different parenting styles, I urge you to read this book. It is not heavy handed in the least, it is an exploration full of ideas. Personally, I love learning about how children are being raised outside of Canada and North America. Check it out if you do, too!
As a parent raising a child in a society that is increasingly enshrouded in risk management, I find it challenging to constantly be going against convention. Most of the time I manage to embrace our chosen lifestyle, but it can feel like an uphill battle some days, when other adults make comments about our mode of transportation to get to and from school, for example. In reading this book, I feel as though I have found my people and that brings me great peace. Even if they live a continent away!
People seem to either love or hate audiobooks, often because of the voice. I find it hard to switch between books, myself, having gotten used to one reader’s cadence and tone.
Many parents will be familiar with the children’s series “The Magic Tree House” by Mary Pope Osborne. If you are one of those people, I find the reader of “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather” to have a very similar voice to Mary Pope Osborne, so much so that my children often thought they were going to get to listen to a Tree House story!
This was an easy audiobook to “pick up” and “put down”, so to speak. I found myself listening to it in snippets with the kids, some times, but often sneaking in moments by myself, like on a dog walk, doing the dishes after the kids had gone to bed, or when riding my bike to pick up a child from school.
I highly recommend this book (and it is a very doable read if you are a tired parent, I promise). Anyone I know who has read it, loved it. Oh, and napping outside is great, even on a bike, even in winter (this was taken at -18C):
Enter for your chance to win a paper copy of this lovely book! Contest runs from February 9, 2018 for two weeks. No purchase necessary for entry. Open to residents of North America (Canada & the USA).