Healthy, Happy kids.. the Finnish way

Healthy, Happy kids.. the Finnish way

This week, we're been lucky enough to have Susanna Heiskanen, CEO and Co-Founder of Tuutu Baby Box, write a guest post about her experiences moving between Finland and Australia. Susanna and Tuutu Baby Box recently won the Silver Ausmumprenure Sustainability Award 2017!! 

Have you ever thought about the different methods that different cultures have and how they do things differently to you and your culture? I find it fascinating, coming from Finland, I see different approaches to what parents and health professionals recommend and do here (Australia) versus Finland. When I started to look into this I discovered some different approaches that you might be interested. 

1. Hospital and giving birth

In Finland you can choose which hospital you give birth and there are very few private facilities only. You are encouraged to a have normal delivery, elective c-section is strictly for medical reasons only. Once baby is born, the baby is given to mother for skin to skin contact and baby is not washed as vernice will protect the baby. Sounds like here, doesn't it?

You normally stay in hospital only for a day after a delivery. It is believed that staying at home is better for you and your baby. Home births are not that common as national health system does not cover these.

2. Sleeping Baby outside

We Finns like to wrap up our kids warmly and sleep them in a pram outside, even in winter. The idea is that babies sleep better in slightly cooler environment and it builds their immune system. It is not uncommon to see prams parked outside houses or below window of a house or even a shop. Parents say that -5 degrees is the coolest temperature they sleep their child in. Here in Australia we do not sleep babies outside even in cooler weather.

3. Potty training

In Finland the potty training starts as young as 6 months old. It is believed that the earlier you start the better and some babies are potty trained by 24 months of age.  Babies are sit down for a potty after a meal routinely to get them started with the idea that potty is the place for a poo. Many of my friends had their kids trained before they turned 2 years.  

4. Pre School

Finland has strong pre-school and school programs and are world famous for the fact that their schools and pupils rank the highest in the world.  Why is this? Well in Finland the government supports the mother to return to work . They pay partially the pre-school fees and by law they need to secure a child care place for the child over 1 year old if the mother wants to return to work.  Pre- school is compulsory from age 6 onward and it is carried in kindergarten before the child starts a school year after.  Full day pre-school is not completely free. Parents pay according to scale based income and with low income families getting the fees covered by the government.

According to Finnish National Agency for Education; the aim of pre-primary education is that the child develops 'learning to learn' skills, and acquires a positive self-image and basic skills, knowledge and capabilities from different areas of learning in accordance with their age and abilities. Approach that I hope Australian pre schools and day care would adopt more.

5. School

School starts the same year you turn 7 and there are very few private schools in Finland. In Finland you have no school uniforms or colors you need to wear. You have a free school meal every day and morning and afternoon snacks in some cases as well. School transport is free until secondary school and after that it is subsidized by the government. 

Finland has a mandatory 15-minute outdoor free-play break after every lesson of every day, even in the winter. According to Finns, there is no bad weather only inadequate clothing.

In class, children are allowed to have fun, giggle and daydream from time to time. Finns put into practice the cultural mantras - Let children be children.


So there are definitely differences between these two cultures but certainly some things that we can adopt here in Australia.


What would you like to see borrowed from the Finnish system and introduced here?


Susanna lives in Sydney with her husband and two boys. She writes a blog when she has time from her passion that is

Tuutu Baby Boxes are a sustainable, organic and eco-friendly sleeping space. Tuutu Baby Boxes are made in Australia from Australian cardboard and everything (from the packaging to the accessories) are carefully selected to ensure your baby benefits from natural and organic products. All products are gender neutral and suitable for boys and girls.

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