Iceland has been quite a popular destination over the past few years. One of the many reasons why is because our Icelandic men did very well playing football during summer of 2016. The Icelanders became famous for their Viking clap, HUH!!! Then again our Icelandic dudes did so well last Monday night playing against Kosovo that our team secured their place in Russia and are will now compete in their first World Cup! The first thing I would like to say is BRAVO!!! A team hailing from a nation that’s population is only 334,252.

It truly is amazing how so many Icelandic people are good at sports that require teamwork such as soccer. Speaking to my dear friend Tinna Gunnarsdottir, my childhood friend from Iceland, she mentioned how important it is to young Icelandic children to be good at sports. How most have dreams to reach professional levels at soccer, handball, basketball, swimming or dance. In that sense by practising sports and activities these children gain a “never give up” mentality. Generally speaking, our society as a whole is resilient. We totally support our children and our neighbours in their endeavours. If you watch children play sports and practice in Iceland, you will find almost every parent watching and supporting their children.

Now that I have lived abroad almost 12 years now when I look back at my roots, my family and upbringing I see that Icelandic people are really good at standing together. We must survive long, dark winters and windy, rainy Fall. Sometimes even during Spring and Summer, we must have strong hearts, faith and real teamwork.

Icelandic children attend a daycare, of some sort, at an early age. From around, one year or one year and a half generally speaking. Both parents usually work or study but in-between school or work they pick up their own children. They dedicate time to their children between the everyday hustle and bustle. You rarely see fulltime live-in Nannies’ in Iceland or really any Scandanivan home for that matter. You would never see a mother and her child’s nanny walking together with just one child and the nanny pushing the stroller instead of the mother.

Life passes quickly. So it is important that within each phase to be there present with the right mind and attitude. Children grow up so fast and as they get older they want as much independence as possible. They actually don’t want to be seen in public too much with their parents anymore  🙂

Please do not misunderstand me, I want to be very clear and state that I have nothing at all against nannies or babysitters. They are angels to every single parent or busy household especially to children that do not have grandparents or a family member that lives close by to provide a much-needed hand from time to time, or to cover some hours before work is done.

We all need space and time. Most families need to work a lot in order to cover the cost of bills and they don’t have time to pick-up their children from school or daycare. That is usually where the grandparents can come in to help. If we are not so fortunate to have them around we are going to need other kinds of angels to help us. Unfortunately, I am one of those people that live so far away from my sons’ lovely grandparents and actually have to rely on a babysitter, which whom I love. She helps us out when we are in need, stuck at work and so on.

A busy family life also brings the family much closer. It changes the point of view of the situation, at least I found that out when my older son became a big brother at 17 months old. He had to mature a bit quicker and be patient while I tended his little brother, but this is life! And this is also love. When my little one went down for his naps, my eldest and I got some very special together time.

Keeping the family close and cozy and being nice to each other. Keeping respect for our partner   (which can be challenging 🙂 ) and trying to understand them instead of judging. If we are in a position where we have to argue or fight it can be useful and helpful to wait until the kids are sleeping to have a moment just for adults.

A family is made with love so why is it often difficult to maintain it? The team starts in a family and grows with us into our adult lives. I believe teaching our children good teamwork within a family and outside of the family can really help them reach far. Help our neighbours and set a good example for our children. The Scandinavian way of raising children is becoming one of worldwide interest. Denmark is an excellent example the specialists say. I believe that at the end of the day it is all about learning and spreading knowledge, togetherwe will win!

Love JM

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