How old are you and what do you normally spend your days doing?
I'm 33. My wife and I moved to Sweden four years ago from Nashville, Tennessee.
I am a teacher for Internationella Engelska Skolan but right now I am on pappa leave. After taking my 14-month-old through her morning routine, I try to make it to Öppna Förskolan for the 10am song time. After her late morning nap, we like to go out for one activity: a walk, visit a friend, go shopping before her afternoon nap. Soon after that mamma is home. I am so thankful to live in Sweden and have the opportunity to be on pappa leave. On weekends we love to meet up with friends for dinner or drinks.
Lets talk about parental benefits in Sweden! They are some of the best in the world and I am amazed at how much support we get as a family. Starting with the pregnancy, I appreciated our barnmorska's focus on my emotional preparations as well as mamma's. This and the fact that after the delivery we would have no hospital bill (other than my meals- roughly $75) allowed us to focus on the family and not finances. Once the baby was here, a monthly 1250kr barnbidrag (around $150) was provided. This continues per child until they turn 16. Thanks for the diapers, Sweden! The best part: the parental leave. Parents get 480 days to share, most at 80% of your previous year's salary (max 989 SEK/day). 90 days can only be used by the father. This policy allows men to develop more intimate relationships with their babies and take a turn being the primary caregiver. What do parents and children do with all their time off? Visit the öppna förskola! More on this in a future post. After leave, the child begins förskola. The low cost (~$100/month) allows parents to focus on careers, knowing their child is in a safe and stimulating environment. JoEllen took a full year with Ellida and I am currently enjoying my 4th and final month. We are so thankful to be starting our family here in Sweden. #mysweden #parentalleave #lattepappa #thankssweden
When and why did you move to your neighbourhood?
My wife and I moved to Stockholm when I was offered a job at Internationella Engelska Skolan. Neither of us had ever stepped foot in Sweden before! For two years we lived in Kungsholmen. Living in the heart of Stockholm helped us to quickly fall in love with the city. Once we knew we wanted to stay in Stockholm and start a family, we decided to move to Årsta, a more family-friendly neighbourhood slightly outside of the city.
After teaching in America for 5 years and earning a doctoral degree in education, I moved to Sweden to continue my career at an international school. I really appreciate how the Swedish school system is more support based when it comes to student behavior versus the punishment based system I saw in the States. I also think it is great that sex education is apart of the science curriculum here where it was completely avoided in my previous experience. Having honest and open discussions about the topic allows kids to make healthy and informed decisions. #MySweden #Teaching
What do you love the most about your neighbourhood?
We love that Årsta has several bars, restaurants, and shops. You don't need to leave the area to feel like you're having a night out. At the same time it is surrounded by nature so you get the best of both worlds.
Årsta is a suburb of Stockholm and a great neighborhood for kids. The centrum has a fountain, library, cinema, cafe, and theatre. There are over a dozen restaurants and several bars in the area and a playground around every corner. Scroll through the photos and see some places that are my favorites in Årsta! #MySweden #Årsta #BestResturants #sushibarsatzuma #anticgreek
What annoys you the most about your neighbourhood?
There is no metro stop in Årsta so you need to first take a bus any time you need to go into town. Waiting on buses is never fun.
How should I spend a day in your neighbourhood?
You should start off the day at Årstabo Cafe with a view of Årstatorg – it's great for people watching. Next, enjoy a morning stroll through Årstaskogen. Refresh with a fika at Årsta Konditori before going to see a movie at the bio or check out a few books at the library. Round off the day with a delicious dinner at Attica Greek.
When it comes to Halloween costumes, people in Europe tend to go the scary route with lots of creepy face paint where Americans love silly character based outfits. Here is a throwback to my costumes since moving to Sweden! Are you dressing up this year? Post a photo in the comments! ? #MySweden #Halloween #Costume #ABBA #Gaston #Emokidsforever #Twin
What's a fun fact not everyone knows about your neighbourhood?
We have a Facebook group that residents use to share information and help each other out.
As my pappa leave comes to an end, I want to highlight another incredible thing Sweden offers to support families: Öppna Förskolan. Most neighborhoods in Sweden provide a place for parents to bring their children on weekdays. It is an excellent place to meet other parents, watch your kid play with others, ask the staff questions on parenting, and stimulate your child with toys and activities. The highlight of each day is always song time. I love seeing how happy the children get when we sit in a circle and sing. If you are on leave search for the location closest to you: https://forskola.stockholm/oppen-forskola/hitta-oppen-forskola/ #MySweden #ÖppnaFörskolan