There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather

A Scandinavian Mom's Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids (from Friluftsliv to Hygge)
Narrated by: Ann Richardson
Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (330 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bringing Up Bébé meets Last Child in the Woods in this lively, insightful memoir about a mother who sets out to discover if the nature-centric parenting philosophy of her native Scandinavia holds the key to healthier, happier lives for her American children.

When Swedish-born Linda McGurk moved to small-town Indiana with her American husband to start a family, she quickly realized that her outdoorsy ways were not the norm. In Sweden children play outside all year round, regardless of the weather, and letting young babies nap outside in freezing temperatures is not only common - it is a practice recommended by physicians. In the US, on the other hand, she found that the playgrounds, which she had expected to find teeming with children, were mostly deserted. In preschool, children were getting drilled to learn academic skills while their Scandinavian counterparts were climbing trees, catching frogs, and learning how to compost. Worse, she realized that giving her daughters the same freedom to play outside that she had enjoyed as a child in Sweden could quickly lead to a visit by Child Protective Services.

The brewing culture clash finally came to a head when McGurk was fined for letting her children play in a local creek, setting off an online firestorm when she expressed her anger and confusion on her blog. The rules and parenting philosophies of her native country and her adopted homeland were worlds apart.

Struggling to fit in and to decide what was best for her children, McGurk turned to her own childhood for answers. Could the Scandinavian philosophy of "there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes" be the key to better lives for her American children? And how would her children's relationships with nature change by introducing them to Scandinavian concepts like friluftsliv ("open-air living") and hygge (the coziness and the simple pleasures of home)? McGurk embarked on a six-month-long journey to Sweden to find out.

There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather is a fascinating personal narrative that highlights the importance of spending time outdoors and illustrates how the Scandinavian culture could hold the key to raising healthier, resilient, and confident children in America.

©2017 Linda Åkeson McGurk (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather

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Great concept, interesting writing.

Highly recommend for anyone considering alternative educational methods or nature based child rearing. The author offered good information in a positive way, and was -for the most part- pretty balanced in her comparisons of various cultures.

6 people found this helpful

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Spot on

I found this book very interesting and on point with my philosophy. Some very interesting confirmations and ideas from the Scandinavian countries. I don’t completely agree with everything on the education pieces, but see the author’s point of view and how it could be beneficial. Overall a great listen and worth the time.

5 people found this helpful

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Excellent book!

Loved this book! It has changed my outlook on family and personal life! The story is very good with valuable lessons for everyone, with or without children.

4 people found this helpful

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Actionable information for change

The book starts slow but gains quickly. Each chapter has a single takeaway to add to a list of actions you can take at home. the book was well written and actionable.

3 people found this helpful

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A parenting revolution

this book has changed the way I view my role as parent. I am less worried about, well, everything. It's taught me to rise above the pressures of making sure my kids "keep up" or get an early start in their schooling, to let them play more, and most of all to trust them with more responsibilities. I'm finding opportunities everywhere to get my kids outdoors more. some other moms in my area read this and organized an all weather nature playgroup that has already attracted many local families. it is my sincere hope that all parents will read this.

3 people found this helpful

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Good, but just long

This book was great, gave me a new perspective on raising little ones and the importance of being outside, it just was long... really long and almost repetitive, but again, I did like it and enjoy the book.

2 people found this helpful

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Made me want to immerse myself in nature

Loved this book and what it stands for: unstructured play in nature.

I very much enjoyed how the author weaved her story together with the science that shows how much value playing outside has for a healthy (mental and physical) development.

If you also want children that will grow into active, nature-loving environmentalists, this book is for you.

2 people found this helpful

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A very important book that every parent should read

Together with Richard Louv’s books, this book provides the important guidance and personal experience in how to enrich a child’s life with nature.

2 people found this helpful

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Well narrated.

The title of the book is kind of the whole book. (Spoiler alert) There’s no such thing as bad weather; just bad clothes. There’s also some comparative commentary about how the outside is taught to children in the US vs Scandinavia. Good information: sure— but coming from Mississippi or Nevada or any state where it’s not quite Scandanivia-esque, well there are other considerations. Good repetition on how integrating childcare and outdoors is not as scary a practice as it’s made to be.

2 people found this helpful

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A little preachy

Starts off a little preachy, but if you stick with it, it’s pretty interesting. Overall worth listening to.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. SM
  • 04-02-19

Quite disappointing

I was looking forward to learn about the Scandinavian mom’s secret but I only made it to chapter two. The book is clearly address to American readers as it references to their lifestyle throughout the narrative.

As a European/Italian almost everything mentioned about raising a child is obvious to and that’s probably why I didn’t get drawn into the narrative. Almost every advice and suggestion made by the author sounds like a “water is wet” statements.

What makes matter worse is the voice and lack of any enthusiasm of the narrator Ann Richardson. Her reading style is robotic and has the same repeating pattern of intonation in every sentence which escalated from disappointment at the start of the audio to annoyance.

Two chapters - that’s how far I made it. I will exchange this one.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Frydaze
  • 09-07-18

One of the best parenting books, in my opinion

As a first-time parent, this book gave me ideas on how to raise my little one. We probably know that spending time outside or getting the kids out of the house is necessary, and this book reinforces that and talks about all the benefits that children get from the outdoors.
I started searching forest schools near the area, nature reserves, national parks, child friendly outdoor places, which I probably would not be doing if I didn’t listen to this book.

This was my first audibook ever, and made me want to keep my subscription to listen to more.

2 people found this helpful

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  • L. Soubkhankoulova
  • 06-26-19

Informative but preachy and lacking practical tips

It started well enough - a Scandinavian mother's trials and tribulations of raising outdoorsy children in rural America. The challenges and the frustrations most parents are faced with on that front. She then has to move back to Sweden for family reasons taking her kids with her. Good, I thought - this is where we will learn some tips, right? Wrong! This is where the smugness starts, which is only thinly veiled by coy dishonest little "rants" about not being able to park close enough in a fully pedestrianised town or her ill-fated attempt to take her girls cross-country skying, which - you guessed it - ends up being a complete triumph despite a rocky start. While the narrative is backed up by a considerable amount of research on that being outdoors is good for the children (who knew, huh?), the story is non-existent as I am already half-way through the book and still to hear anything useful on how to implement her outdoorsy principles, well... outside of Sweden! The book glamorises Sweden and the Swedish way of life and even the Swedish government (to which America compares rather unfavourably, I must say!), which is all lovely and I can see how one may enjoy living embracing all of it in Sweden, but so far the message of the book has been: you want and healthy outdoorsy kids? Your only chance is moving to Sweden (eye-roll).

I was really hoping she would tell us about moving back to America and all about how she managed to implement what she learned in Sweden in her own home-town in the US, but I don't think it's forthcoming and I am already so bored of 4 hours of sanctimonious crap about how Swedish babies sleep outside all day, how Swedish parents encourage their children to go and play outside in the mud all day on their own, and how Swedish schools are big on recycling, organic home-cooked meals and how they concentrate on outdoor learning rather than doing times tables from an early age or teaching the kids to read - because, you know, the research shows it is the best and the only way to raise the kids and if you are not already endorsing all of these practices, you are probably an inadequate parent/teacher/carer.

The book does not make any allowance whatsoever for those who live outside of Scandinavia, faced with different living conditions, possibly not in the direct vicinity of the vast woodland or lake, a garden or even a car-free area, anyone who has to work 8 hours a day away from home instead of writing books in one's living room or any parent who cannot send their child in a state-run forest school.

I am not sure who this book is written for. Most Americans will probably find the author's disdain for all things American quite offensive or at least unhelpful. It's certainly not written for anyone in Scandinavia. I really wanted to love this book, myself raised in Russia and having a very similar outdoor experience growing up and now living in England. I was really hoping that the author will have some tips to combat the "If we don't want to be outside in this weather, then the kids won't either" attitude I got from some of the school-teachers. But it appears that despite all the benefits, the author failed miserably to implement these practices anywhere outside of Sweden, where this ideology is written in the law and very little parental input is required to achieve this lifestyle anyway, as the outdoor way of life if almost institutionalised starting with kindergartens and all though to the workplace.

The only thing is reading the book convinced me to do is to get out more with my children... and, yeah, to maybe visit Sweden to see what all the fuss is about.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mayadevi
  • 02-10-19

great and super important

finished it in a day, and went to listen again. love of nature, risk taking, real childhood.. what's not to like? the style is great too, easy read.

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  • Aniyora V.
  • 12-08-18

Amazing

I’ve been quoting this book to everyone I meet all week long. Already looking forward to reading it again and taking notes this time. Thanks so much.

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  • Sheila
  • 07-16-18

Everything a parent needs to hear!

Making me more conscious of getting the kids out in nature not just for a 5minute kick-about but an everyday adventure. Also made me thankful for the outdoor amenities we are so lucky to live beside. I'll be highly recommending.

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  • Ms. C. S. Prisk
  • 01-18-18

Teachers - read this!

Love the bite size research, the grounded debate, the personal anecdotes. This is not just for parents. It’s for everyone interested in childhood and the future of humanity. Read and take note!!

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  • Vitalija Kosovaite
  • 03-12-18

I simply love this

Would you consider the audio edition of There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather to be better than the print version?

I think I prefer audio book in this case

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mum

Which character – as performed by Ann Richardson – was your favourite?

Mum

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather

Any additional comments?

What's with these questions???

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  • Melina
  • 06-13-19

Awesome book

Relatable and full of great evidence based references. It’s shifted the way I prioritize certain things as a parent.

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  • Celeste
  • 01-15-19

Interesting book, robotic narration

Found this book interesting, but the narrator was a bit robotic and the prononciation of words and names was at times odd.