I often say to myself, when you’re a parent, life is what happened between fresh brewed coffee in the morning and reheated coffee in the afternoon: you barely have time to enjoy your coffee, decently 😀 Especially when you live away from home, far from the supporting system called family, the struggle is real.
Luckily in Sweden, there are some hang out places that are designed and dedicated for parents so parenting can still be fun. Here are the highlights:
If you’re new in Sweden and not sure where to go for a day-out with your baby, a library could be a good starting point. The state library in Lund has special section for kids of all ages. There’s this small play area where you can read books with your children and also meet other fellow parents.The library also has baby café and book-reading events for kid in various languages (read more about the events here). The book reading is held in the reading “closet” which is set up nicely and comfy for the parents and the kids.
In Sweden, due to its generous parental leave, kids are not going to preschool or day care until they turn 1 year old. But, they can join open preschool without registration (just pop up when you feel like it) and it’s free of charge.
There are two open preschools in Lund, Kulan and Söderlek. I go to the first one with my baby and we’re having a really good time there. In Kullan, I get the opportunity to meet and socialise with other adults, while my daughter gets to meet and play with other children. So it’s good for both my kids and me. I can have a social life and talk to those who are on the same boat with me and my kid is enjoyed being surrounded by friends, toys and books.
The open preschool also has interesting activities such as painting and foot or hand casting but the most loved one is the singing section. Most parents come around the singing time (10.30 and 13.30 depending on the day) and leave soon after. That’s the thing about open preschool. We decide when to come and how long we want to stay. We are also responsible for our child(ren) during the stay.
I consider myself lucky because the health centre where I’m registered at provides parent’s group for international parents. We met regularly during the first six months of our postnatal period and I found the meetings were really nice and useful. The scheduled meeting at the health centre has concluded last summer but the parents still continue to meet for a play date every now and then.
If you don’t have parents group at your registered health centre, try online parents groups in your area (such as Facebook Group) or you can use this website to search for local parents group. They often have various activities range from fika to book club.
I received an invitation to a Barnvagns Bio last June and thought that was a smart solution for parents who want to watch movie without leaving their baby at home.
Barnvagns Bio or stroller cinema is a convenient way to watch cinema in an environment where it is okay for babies to cry 😀 . During the show the sound is muted (or down a bit) and the light is dimmed (instead of completely dark) which is perfect for napping. In the middle of the movie, we take a break for any diaper changes and eating times. Microwave and changing table are available and the stroller is parked outside. Some cinemas even offer coffee. In short, it sounds really cozy.
I haven’t tried it myself but a friend of mine went to one and she loved it. The fact that there’s a break in the middle of the movie and that you can stand up, bounce, rock or even breastfeed if needed, are just perfect for her. And I agree. I’ll definitely go to Barnvagns Bio as it’s already in my soon-to-do list ☺ .
*originally published for The Newbie Guide to Sweden on November 7, 2019