Starting daycare there, starting daycare in Sweden – Weekly Link

Over at Dadwagon, one of the posters just started his toddler in daycare in New York:

Isn’t it supposed to be harder than this? In preparation for today, I’ve been reading various Websites for advice—give the kid a favorite toy or favorite foodbring a family photo the teacher can show her—and we’ve been carefully referring to it as “school” not “day care” or “babysitting.” And we limited our time in the classroom so she wouldn’t expect us to be there all day.

Huh. I guess those things work. The only thing we weren’t prepared for is that Sasha wouldn’t really need us around.

And here is what I posted there.  It goes to what I wrote about on Tuesday, my real ambivalence on daycare and having my kids in it so young.  It is the true downside of the Swedish system.  Everyone gets all this time, but we all only get this much time.  I shudder at the thought of leaving Baby B when he is 19 months old.  I know that is so old in many contexts but he does not seem so old.

Here in Sweden, all kids start daycare between 12 and 24 months. And everyone gets about a one to two week “in schooling” they call it. So parents go every day and then start leaving a little longer and a little longer.

Seems to work, though since our in schooling took a little longer, I got to see the mass chaos of a yard full of screaming toddlers. I think on some level this is the dirty secret the teachers try to hide from us – the mass wailing and despair that goes on for a good while.

My kid loves it now, of course. But I must admit that it made me wish I could stay home longer. You know, kindergarten seems right.

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4 thoughts on “Starting daycare there, starting daycare in Sweden – Weekly Link

  1. Yeah, we had the luxury of having a nanny at home when we were in the USA from 7 months on while I worked part time. Part time work was just right. We tried moving her into daycare at 18 months and she was too young, we hired back the nanny. At that age they are still not good at getting their needs across to someone who does not know their personal language and symbols, and we also did not want to leave her in a room full of sad kids who all just left their parents the first time. She transitioned easily into a small home daycare around age 3, then a Swedish one with 1 teacher per 4 kids we have here at age 3 1/2. We never had to leave her crying…Here in Sweden, the teachers really try to get you to leave your crying kid, and say they will be fine, but I am not one to believe it. They may give up, but they are not fine. Kids who are fine do not cry. And I hate, hate, hated seeing small lonely little people 18 months old whose parents had finished inschooling before me. I also think 18 months is a time of a huge developmental leap where the parents are forced to learn how to communicate and set rules for the kids, and everyone looses when they miss that window and start dropping them off all day instead. I notice a big difference, a lack, in the skills of in the kids and parents here whose kids went to daycare at 18 months. There is a special cooperation you learn as they become verbal. I love Sweden, I love pappaledig and mammaledig, but am grateful I will have some flexiabilty with daycare timing. I do not envy the parents that have to take the teachers at their word that their crying kid will be alright…. As messed up as USA the lack of parent leave is, it was okay daycare cost so much in some ways, as it made the choice to just stay home easier for many women. I had a really great network of stay at home moms there, here not so much. Only the occasional circumstancially unemployed expat like me.

  2. Thank you for your comment on the Wall Street Journal Article.
    Might I involve you in some way in our work and social marketing efforts?
    We do not have $$ for media, but your particular status, i.e., as a Daddy, is essential to our work.
    Minimally, it would be lovely to have a tiny testimonial from you along the line of your comment. Please be in touch, and I can share our current testimonials with you.

    Thanks, again!
    Miriam

  3. There seems to be that dual question of am I ready for Daycare and is the little one ready for daycare

  4. We are seriously considering extending Baby B’s time at home now. I totally agree about the crying too — why we are still putting up with really rocky sleep. And everything I have seen on birth rates says that the US rate is high because of the flexibility in the society, even if the leave is terrible. Sweden has all the perks but none of the flexibility. Then you have places like Italy or Russia with neither and, well, you have no kids either …

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