How to raise a viking

The secrets of parenting the world's happiest children.

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?

February 15 2024

July 9 2024

about the book – HOW TO RAISE A VIKING

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.

Praise for How to Raise a Viking...

'Ditch all the other parenting books. This is the one – funny, helpful, doable and not guilt-inducing' Matt Rudd, author and Sunday Times columnist

‘My DNA is Viking so 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 – also to laugh out loud. Witty and informative’ Meik Wiking, Sunday Times bestselling author and founder of The Happiness Research Institute

'Helen’s brilliant writing is having a dangerously powerful impact on me which is leading me to an inevitable emigration to Scandinavia. I just need to let my wife and children know…' Rob Beckett, comedian and parenting podcast host

‘In her signature style of warmth and whip smart investigation, Helen provides us a window into this wondrous 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

‘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, journalist and Sunday Times bestselling author

'Helen has a way to take big ideas and convey them with warmth and wisdom' Dr Rangan Chatterjee, author and BBC presenter


'The book my parents needed'


'Witty and informative'


''Brilliant writing'


'Funny, helpful, doable'