Life for a Viking child would be a lesson in how to do many things. Farming, crafts, trading and much more were a common part of Viking life, and all lessons that a Viking child would need to learn to integrate into the ancient Norse society.
Viking children were expected to help out from a very young age, they would not have an eduction as such, or not in the sense of a communal school. Instead a Viking child would learn everything they needed from their parents, their siblings and the rest of the settlement community.
Of course in ancient Norse times, the gender roles for boys and girls were quite defined, and this would of course affect what their time would be focused on. We will explore the roles of the Viking children much more as we continue and the differences the offer.
Even from a young age a Viking boy would have to learn how to take care of himself, both in a job role and also from a physical role. Vikings were farmers that just happened to also love fighting, and Viking boys would have to become good at both quickly.
Working with their fathers, either as a helper to a craftsman, or as a farm hand to a farmer. The Viking boys would pick up skills and trades from their fathers and their extended families. uncles, grandfathers, and older brothers would all help keeping the young Viking boys in line and busy.
When they were learning a trade a Viking boy would likely get into play fights. In old Norse times, fighting was a part of life, a part many Viking enjoyed and just as boys, will be boys. Viking boys were not different, and if caught fighting they wouldnt be scolded unless they caused serious harm to another.
Viking girls would heed advice and guidance from their mothers of course, learning how to live in a their world and masters the necessary skills required from them. The Viking girls would often shadow their mother, helping where necessary and learning along the way.
Cooking was a skill that would be essential to master, making Viking broth, brewing ale and even making cheese from goat or cow milk. Spinning weaving and clothes making were important too, sewing and making clothes, repairing old ones, and ensuring there was enough wool to keep their family warm in the cold winter months.
Education for the Viking children
As we previously alluded too, in Viking times, there was no real such thing as a formal school environment. Stories might have been told by older Vikings, lessons learned in passing, and trades would be learned by time and effort, but not in a typical school environment.
All of a Vikings child learning would be through real living, being a part of the community from a young age and growing through their natural roles in it.
Typical skills learned by a Viking child
Life could be varied for a Viking child, and they would often need to learn many skills. Below are some common skills that Viking children would learn.
- How to farm
- How to cook
- How to start a fire
- How to light and refill oil lamps
- How to row and steer a boat
- Horse riding
- House building
- Animal care
- How to handle weapons
The life of a Viking child in summary
To be born into the world of the Old Norse, meant you would have to be ready to tackle everyday life from an early age. Viking children were not schooled in traditional ways we do now, but they learned how to live, how to fend for themselves. Viking children would have to live off the land, learn to farm and often learn to fight and trade.
One things is property for sure, to grow up a child in Viking times would not have been boring.