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How to Raise a Viking: The Secrets of Parenting the World’s Happiest Children

By Helen Russell

‘Helen has a way to take big ideas and convey them with warmth and wisdom’ Dr Rangan Chatterjee

‘A well researched study injected with humour and humanity’ Mail on Sunday

What do Vikings know about raising children? Turns out, quite a lot…

After a decade of living in Denmark and raising a family there, Helen Russell noticed that Nordic children are different. They eat differently. They learn differently. They run, jump and climb out in nature for hours a day, even though the weather is terrible and it’s dark October to March. And then they grow up to be some of the happiest adults on the planet. Her question was: how?

In How to Raise a Viking, Russell takes a deep dive into the parenting culture of Denmark and the other Nordic nations, from parental leave policies to school structure, screen time, and the surprising customs that lead to happy, well-adjusted humans. This fascinating peek behind the cultural curtain allows readers a glimpse of another world, where babies sleep outside in their prams up to -20°C and pre-schoolers wield axes.

Refreshingly funny and unfailingly optimistic about the new generation of humans growing up in the world right now, this is a heart-warming love letter to Russell’s adopted homeland and proof that we could all use a bit more Viking in our lives.

‘Ditch all the other parenting books. This is the one – funny, helpful, doable and not guilt-inducing. Makes me want to have kids all over again and try it this way’ Matt Rudd

‘I’ve long been a fan of Helen Russell’s writing (The Year of Living Danishly is a wonderfully uplifting guide to life) and this new book of hers on parenting is top-notch’ Good Housekeeping – Best Parenting Books

‘Helen Russell explains from experience how Nordic countries put a strong emphasis on resilience, outdoor play, independence, egalitarianism and a balanced approach to education and family life. “Viking parenting” is about raising children to be self-assured, capable and connected to the natural world, and studies suggest the happiest children are in Scandinavia’ The Week

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 15 Feb 2024
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0-00-860272-7
Price: £16.99 (Export Price) , £16.99, €None
Helen Russell is a bestselling author, journalist, speaker and host. Formerly editor of turned Scandinavia correspondent for the Guardian, her first book, The Year of Living Danishly, became an international bestseller, optioned for television. She\'s the author of five critically acclaimed books, translated into 21 languages.Helen writes for magazines and newspapers globally, including The Times and The Sunday Times, the Telegraph, the Independent, National Geographic, Wall Street Journal, the Observer, Metro, Grazia, Stylist and Stella. She’s spent the last ten years studying cultural approaches to emotions and now speaks about her work internationally.

”'In a delicious mix of comic memoir and well-honed reportage, Russell addresses how well-adjusted little citizens are formed in Scandinavia … This is not a rose-tinted advert for the hygge life, but rather a deep dive into the pros and cons of a radically different approach to parenthood” - Mail on Sunday

'[Russel] spills Nordic secrets for parents to marvel at … however there's plenty that is exportable' The Times -

'Helen’s brilliant writing is having a dangerously powerful impact on me which is leading me to an inevitable emigration to Scandinavia' Rob Beckett, comedian -

'I highly recommend' Mariella Frostrup, Times Radio -

”'In her signature style of warmth and whip smart investigation, Helen provides us a window into this wonderous world of Nordic parenting. You'll be rushing out to buy your little ones knives and a box of matches after reading this enlightening and entertaining book!” - Helen Thorn, comedian and Sunday Times bestselling author

”'This is the book my parents needed. Too late for them, not too late for you” - Simon Mayo, author and presenter

”'Helen has done it again. This book will help any parent … Witty and informative” - Meik Wiking, Sunday Times bestselling author and founder of The Happiness Research Institute

‘There's some good learnings here for parents to be inspired by in this fun book on how to make your little ones more happily independent' Lorraine Candy, author of 'What’s Wrong with Me?' -

'How to Raise a Viking contains much of interest and succeeds in its primary purpose: making us think about how we should engage with our children and help them to realise their potential, and what we must prioritise to do so' Sunday Times -