In Sweden it is very common to send your kids to daycare, some even start when their children are 1 year old. This has a lot to do with the fact that Sweden is very liberal and big into equal rights. Having children in daycare makes it possible for both the mom and dad to work. The county you live in even has to provide a daycare spot for your children.
If your child is at daycare for 15 hours or less a week (or if you and your partner's combined income is less than a certain amount each month) you only pay 60% of the maximum of 1.260 SEK (aprx 190 dollars) a month per child. If your child goes to daycare more than 16 hours a week and you earn more than the lower limit you pay 1.260 SEK a month.
Mikael and I decided that we didn't want Matilda to be in daycare full-time as she is still so little, so as of now she is there from Monday-Wednesday from 8.30 - 15.30 (21 hours) during which I work from home. The great thing is that it only takes us a 5 minute walk from home as daycare is in our little village - and they teach Montessori which is wonderful as it focusses on the child's senses and creativity, perfect for our creative girl.
Matilda's first day at daycare.
We knew that Matilda is a very social and happy girl and that she has 3 of her cousins in the older groups and our neighbor boy who is in her group, but we were still a bit unsure about how it would work out. It turns out that she l o v e s daycare. :) From day one she has been so excited to be there and just gives a quick goodbye when we leave her but runs towards us when we pick her up. There are 8 kids in her group from 1,5-3 years of age and two teachers which is a blessing, I've heard about bigger groups of kids and not as many teachers.
Her normal schedule is that they all have a morning-get-together at 9 where they say hello to everybody, sing a few songs, focussing on the weather and season/special holidays, have a fruit snack and go outside to play. At 11.15 they serve lunch (catered from a local golf club) and nap around 11:45/12.00 - either inside or outside in their stroller. When they wake up they usually go outside again, depending on the weather, have another snack outside and play more. These days as spring has come I mostly pick up Matilda in the outside playground.
Matilda has been in daycare for 3 months now and we can really see that she enjoys it and has made a lot of new friends. She has grown so much, her vocabulary had increased ("what is this...?" are her favorite words right now), she wants to draw more and can't get enough of being outside. She even folds her hands before lunch in school and says "amen" - how cute is that! :)
Every day when I pick her up her teachers (and other group teachers) tell me that she is really happy all the time - and she is! (Although the "terrible two's are coming in full swing..)
I am so proud of my little independent girl who loves to explore the world. Mikael and I always think about what might become of her and right now we think she might become an architect. There is still a lot of time to figure that out :)