Norwegian culture is very child-centred. "Childhood" lasts longer than most other countries, often not ending until the end of high school. The national welfare system for children was enacted as early as 1896, and further developed in 1981.
One of the many benefits of the high taxation in Norway is that both parents are able to take leave from employment when a child is born allowing for care within the family for some of the formative first years. A cash benefit scheme allows parents to stay home for only slightly reduced pay for children between the ages 1 and 3. This is partly due to the fact that there is a daycare shortage in much of Norway. Day cares are a popular option for one to six year old because most Norwegians recognize the need for social interaction.
There are also auxiliary daycare programs before and after school. All Norwegian municipalities are required to provide programs on regular school day for all children aged six to nine. Parents pay for this before/after school care, usually about 220 euros/month. Contact your child's school about these programs.
Known as barnehage, these schools can be privately run, or operated by the municipality. Each district's website contains a list of all public and private day care facilities in the district. Childcare usually costs about 2,000 kr a month per child. This can be more depending on the daycare.
Public- Parents must be listed on the population register (Folkeregisteret) as a resident of Oslo. They can then apply for a public day care in their district.
Private- Do not have a requirement to be resident in the district.
Family kindergartens (familiebarnehager) are run from within a private home. There is usually regular oversight by a qualified pre-school teacher. These are usually for small children under 3, and opening hours are around 7 :00 to 17 :00.
Open kindergarten (afpen barnehage) are usually groups of mothers and children. These are usually very low cost or free. An example of an open kindergarten frequented by expats is:
Asker Internasjonale senter
Asker, 1386, Norway
Tel: + 47 (917) 44 997
A Barnepark is an alternative to a barnehage. Children (aged 2-6) are supervised playing outside for 4 hours a day. Both kinds of facilities can be found in the yellow pages or online at: www.gulesider.noApplication: To apply for a place in either a private or a municipal barnehage you must apply directly to the municipal council (kommune). Applications are available at the local library, or from the kommune.
Another place to check for childcare is with any organization you are associated with. Schools and offices often offer a joint childcare facility for their students or employees. You may also find information on where to find a barnepark at the local library, health clinic (helsestasjon) or on the notice board in supermarkets.
For information on wages, rules and regulations, contact the local employment office (Arbeidsformidlingen)
Association for Certified child minders
PO Box 272
Tel: + 47 (66) 84 9829
A more informal system is that of babysitting. This duty is often given to a close friend or neighbour versus a total stranger. There are other services available if you do not have someone you know that is able to baby sit.
Child minders (dagmamma, praktikant) often advertise in the local newspapers. Notices may also be posted at libraries, health clinics (helsestasjon) or supermarkets. Make sure that you completely trust your childcare provider before leaving them with your child.