Every hotel in Finland has a list of English-speaking employees, such as maids, who, with advance notice, can babysit your child. The rate in Helsinki is about 8.50€ ($11) per hour, per child, perhaps less in certain provincial towns. During daytime hours, if you're a devoted shopper, the well-respected Stockmann department store, Aleksanterinkatu 52 (tel. 09/1211), offers a free babysitting service every Monday to Friday 10am to 7pm and Saturday 9am to 6pm.
Child Day Care is available for under school age children, and in demanding circumstances for older children as well. The aim is to provide the child with necessary care, upbringing, education and special support. The service is produced by the Social Services Department or private day care centers. All-Day Care ranges from 5 to 7 or over 7 hours, and part-time care ranges from 3 to 5 hours. Moreover, there is shift care, which includes both night and 24-hour day care groups. Day Care has special services, e.g. language, bath and allergy-renovated units.
Child Day Care focuses on offering families an environment of care that supports the child's growth and development. Parents can choose between municipal day care, private day care allowance or in case of under three year olds home care allowance. The place of day care can be a day care centre or a family day care centre. In addition to family day care in family day care's home, some residential areas have joint group family day care centers of several families in facilities allotted by the city.
Most Helsinkian children participate in pre-school a year before compulsory education. Applications for day care places are accepted throughout the year. For part time day care places applications are made once a year, at the same time as registration for school. Application dates are given in newspapers, etc.
There are day care places for 23,000 children in more than 300 day care centers and 2,600 family day care places. All private day care is also supervised by the city. Further information and application forms for day care places are available from children's day care centers. Families should apply for the service at day care centers with doc forms at least 4 months before the need for day care arises or immediately after the potential need is known.
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