Living in Europe | Day care, schooling & family related issues | Sweden
In this section you will find information about Swedish schools and preschools, parental and children benefits and spouse support.
If you have children, you should locate a preschool or school as early as possible. Contact the municipality where you are going to live in order to enroll the child, either to a Swedish-speaking preschool/school or an international preschool/school.
In Swedish preschools, play is a key component. There is a focus on basic values such as playing together, tolerance and consideration for others. Preschool is for children aged 1 to 5.
The year the child turns 6, he or she can participate in a non-compulsory preschool class (sexårsverksamhet) designed to help children meet future classmates and prepare for primary school without the stress of heavy studies or homework.
From the ages of 7 to 16, all children in Sweden are required to attend the compulsory school (grundskola), where they are taught a core group of basic subjects. Families can apply for before/after-school care for their children (fritids).
There is a charge for preschools and after-school care, but from the age of 6, all schooling in Sweden is free of charge and includes a hot lunch. Note, there is usually a fee for private schools and international schools.
Preschool (förskola) or day care allows you as a parent to work during the day while providing a safe and stimulating environment for your child. Your child can be at preschool from 6:30 to 18:30 (the opening hours can vary) every weekday except certain public holidays.
Fees are based on your household income as well as the number of children you currently have enrolled. All municipalities apply a system of maximum fees. This means that there is a cap on how high fees can be for a family. Every child is guaranteed a place in a preschool after turning 1, subject to certain regulations.
Preschool class. All children are to be offered a place in a preschool class starting in the autumn term of the year they turn 6 until they start compulsory school.
Compulsory school is mandatory and is open to all children aged 7-16. It is composed of 9 school years and each school year consists of a fall and spring semester.
Upper secondary school is for young people aged 16-20. The school is free, non-compulsory schooling that young people can choose after completing compulsory school. Upper secondary consists of national programmes, specially designed programmes and individual programmes.
International schools. Contact your host university or the municipality where you are going to live.
Pregnancy and Maternity
Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave (föräldraledighet) systems in the world. According to the Parental Leave Act employees are entitled to be absent from work to take care of their children until the child is 8 years of age. During parental leave, the parents’ allowance is paid by the Social Insurance Agency, (Försäkringskassan) in accordance with the law. www.forsakringskassan.se.
Parental benefit is money you receive to be able to be at home with your child instead of working, seeking work or studying. Parents are granted 480 days of leave per child. 390 of these days are income based and 90 days are at the minimum level. It is not your employer who covers the cost of your parent benefit but the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). Read more about parental benefits and find out if you are elegible for it at www.forsakringskassan.se
The maternity clinic (MVC)mödravårdscentralen, is primarily for pregnant women. You go to the maternity clinic throughout your pregnancy to check that both the child and you yourself are doing well. Visits to the maternity clinic are free.
Child health centre (BVC) As a parent, you can get help here. At the child health centre, or barnavårdscentralen (BVC), you can get tips about your child’s development, breast-feeding, food and illnesses. When you come home after the childbirth, you can contact the child health centre yourself to make an appointment for a first meeting. The first meeting is often held at home. At the meeting the nurse tells you about the child health centre and looks to see how your baby is doing.
Children who live in Sweden start receiving a child allowance the month after their birth. The allowance is paid until the child turns 16.
Register with Försäkringskassan
You need to register with Försäkringskassan (the Swedish Social Insurance Agency) to qualify for benefits. Read more at www.forsakringskassan.se
One of the challenges when moving to a new country as an accompanying spouse, is finding an occupation for yourself. For those wishing to live and work in Sweden, learning the language is very important. You may find it difficult to get a job without at least basic knowledge of Swedish. Look for networks and associations at the university website and at the website of the municipality.
Learning the language
Sfi-courses. Once you have become a resident in Sweden and have been issued a personal identity number (personnummer) you can contact your local municipality for information about Swedish lessons for immigrants (Sfi). Sfi is basic training in the Swedish language for adults who do not have Swedish as their first language. You can study Sfi full-time or part-time. The training is free of charge.
Information about Swedish language courses both in other countries and in Sweden, see www.si.se. The site also provides information about Swedish courses online.