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Getting cold feet as temperatures plummet and the kids want to make snow angels in sandals? No worries, YLC’s got your winter wardrobe woes covered – booties, bags and beanies!

Parenting +46

If you’ve been in Sweden for a while, you may find yourself well aware of what winter is like, but still overwhelmed by the daunting task of dressing your wee little tykes appropriately. YLC is here to give a breakdown of what you need for your kids to enjoy quality time outside, all winter long.

The Swedes like to say there is no bad weather, just bad clothes. Parents, take heed: Children in most Swedish schools, particularly preschools, spend a lot of time outside. But of course, depending on what age your children are – their clothing needs will differ. Let’s get started!

 

General advice for kids of all ages

Wool is your best friend when winter rolls around – not just for your own socks, but as the layer of clothing closest to your child’s skin. Wool keeps kids warm while wicking away moisture, unlike cotton, which locks it in. As the snow piles up you will be grateful for the existence of wool socks, wool bodysuits, wool long undewear, wool balaclavas, wool hats, and even wool shoe inserts. Layering wool with cotton or fleece (depending on the temperature) is also a wise move, but keep wool close. It may well take additional time to peel off more layers, but it’s practical to be able to remove or add some clothes depending on your child’s activity level.

 

Footwear

During not-quite-frozen winter weather and not-quite-spring months, your ambulatory children would benefit from lined rain boots. Prices vary depending on the brand, but regardless, lined rain boots are a staple for dark, damp days. (No bad weather, remember?) Swap out regular socks for wool socks for some extra warmth.

And when you do need full-on winter boots, Gore-Tex is your friend. I repeat, Gore-Tex is your friend. Children’s boots range from expensive to even more expensive to “Are you freaking kidding me?” expensive.  Across this range of prices, you have boots with Gore-Tex waterproofing and some brands that claim to be waterproof (involving technology that is unfortunately not Gore-Tex). Cheekiest are those boots that are blessed with neither.

If you want your child to spend any amount of time outside, don’t even think about buying winter boots that are not waterproof.

To save money, look at Blocket, Tradera, and flea markets or second-hand shops to get a used pair. The smaller the size, the greater the chances that the boots were only used for a short time since kids’ feet grow so fast; buying used in this case can save you upwards of 400 SEK.

 

Newborn to crawling stage

Chances are that much of your time outside with a newborn will involve the child being already cocooned into a stroller bassinet (“liggdel”, or, for some strollers, this might be called a “mjuk-“ or “hårdlift”). When the weather drops below zero, many parents use a winter “åkpåse” (travel bag), which looks like a sleeping bag. These åkpåsar are available in a range of sizes and prices, with off-brand one-size-fits-most being the cheapest.

If you’re not going to be outside for long and your baby is inside a winter åkpåse within a bassinet, they won’t need much more clothing than a hat and perhaps some light outerwear overalls and a regular outfit underneath. It’s easy to overdress small babies, so keep in mind that when they’re protected from wind inside the stroller and in an åkpåse, they’ll be quite comfortable.

babybag

If you plan to be out longer or your child is no longer in a bassinet, some warmer outwear overalls, a hat and mittens, and boots should be sufficient coverage for short trips in the stroller. When it’s colder and you’ll be outside with the stroller for a longer period of time, go all out. Keep your child cozy and content with winter overalls, boots, hat, mittens, and that åkpåse.

 

Toddlers and preschool-aged kids (through age 5)

Outerwear options for small children include one-piece overalls and two-piece sets. A convenient advantage of overalls is snow can’t get inside even when kids roll in the snow. They are also faster to put on than separate pants and a jacket. However, it’s easier to peel off a coat indoors while running errands, whereas removing the top half of overalls usually results in them falling below the child’s hips as they walk.

Much like winter boots, winter outerwear comes in a range of prices and quality. Frequently you get what you pay for, but not always, so know what qualities you want in your outerwear.

They should be waterproof and hold up to use and abuse. Having taped seams and reinforced knee, bum, and elbow areas contribute to durability.

Some brands will include info on the tags describing the degree of waterproofing of the external fabric.

If you understand Swedish or have a patient Swedish-speaking friend, check out this year’s review of children’s winter overalls from product evaluation agency TestFakta here.

Many Swedes also swear by putting a sheep skin in the stroller, keeping your child snug and warm even in the coldest weather.

 

Children 6 years and above

Which outerwear you choose for your child will depend upon how much time they spend outside. If your child enjoys playing in the snow (which is pretty much a given for any child not yet a teenager) keep this in mind when you decide on the quality of outerwear you are willing to pay for. As with younger children – the trick is smart layering and most (children’s) clothes shops stocks wool undergarments (often called an underställ) for older children (and adults) as well. They won’t mind wearing them – all their friends will be too!

Again, bargains can be made on sites like Tradera or Blocket – but don’t rule out the sports shops like Stadium and Intersport. Often they will have a range of options to suit all purses.

Enjoy the snow!

 

Alexandra D’Urso

Boston-area native Alexandra moved to Sweden in 2009 and gave up cod for smoked salmon and Sam Adams for wine in plastic bottles with screw caps. When not bragging about the awesome aspects of Swedish life to people back home, she spends time writing and laughing loud enough to disturb innocent bystanders.

Follow Alex and Your Living City on Twitter!

 

Preggers in Stockholm or bringing your bump to the city? Congratulations! YLC’s Alexandra D’Urso on the advantages of becoming a parent in Sweden.

pregnant-love-heart

Let’s say you’re thinking about parenthood. Maybe you are unexpectedly expecting, or you’ve wanted to be pregnant for months or years and you finally are. Congrats! Whether you’re a first-time parent or this is not your first pregnancy, you’re perhaps among the luckiest parents in the world. Why? Just for the simple reason that you may be having your child in Sweden and raising it here.

Before explaining this lofty statement any further, I should preface this piece by saying that I’ve never given birth to or raised a child in a country other than Sweden, so my basis for judgment is of course very subjective. However, being of reproductive age and having hung out with an international crowd even back in my country of origin, I know quite a few people who have recently had children or are currently raising some. Like me, some have moved out of the US to yet another country. Having parenthood in common, conversations with friends and acquaintances living in other places often naturally turn to shared issues or concerns like child care, prenatal care/labor/delivery, ongoing health care for families, etc., and how it is to be a parent in different places.

Once you see the plus sign on that pee stick, no matter where you become a parent, you’ll continue to see symbols; most often, you’ll be faced with a lot of question marks. Why? Mainly because every pregnancy, every labor, and every child are totally unique, and the unpredictability of these forces us to sit back and just go with the flow sometimes.

Keeping an open mind, which you’ve likely had to do quite a bit during your time living abroad, is a good strategy for the road ahead.

Qualifying statements out of the way, let’s get to the details! Why do I think that parents in Sweden are among the luckiest in the world? To begin with, pregnant women, assuming they have a residency permit, receive free prenatal care. Free? Yes, as in you don’t have to pay for your visits. (Of course, the next time you find yourself grumbling about the 25% MOMS or taxes on your salary, just remember that that hard-earned cash is about to come back to you in a very major way in the form of tax-subsidized health care and child care.) While each county is responsible for the health care of its residents, you will come across some trends no matter where you live in Sweden:

 

Midwife-managed care

In Sweden, unless you have some kind of complication during your pregnancy, the only time you’ll meet with a doctor is when you’re giving birth—and then, only if you need anesthesia or have complications. For some people, it might sound terrifying to never meet with a doctor, especially if in your home country it is doctors who provide prenatal care. Midwife-managed care has a few benefits: one is that pregnant women are not treated like sick people, and another is that not having doctors provide prenatal care saves the public health care system a lot of money.

 

Minimalist prenatal care

When you first meet with your midwife, you may be surprised at how few visits and tests you may have ahead of you compared with what you’ve heard or experienced in other countries. If you come from a country that does more tests than are really necessary, like the US, then the prospect of few visits and one (!) ultrasound might seem scary. Rest assured: they’re really on to something here. Sweden has one of the world’s lowest infant and maternal mortality rates, and if any out-of-the-ordinary circumstances arise, you will be promptly referred for further follow up. You will have some blood tests to make sure that your iron levels are OK, for example, but unless you request it, you won’t have any unneeded exams. Yes, that means no unnecessary lie-backs with your legs in the air like a turkey on Thanksgiving and your feet in stirrups while….yeah, you get it.

 

Encouraged parental bonding and breastfeeding

After the hard work of laboring is done, you’ll be transferred to the BB ward for recovery. If this is your first labor, you’ll likely stay in the hospital longer than you would for subsequent labors, assuming these have no complications. Something that I thought was absolutely lovely was that my partner was encouraged to sleep overnight with me and our son in the hospital during the days that I remained there for follow-up. This allowed my husband to take a more active and supportive role as I recovered, which I greatly appreciated. Unless they have some kind of serious complications, newborns remain in their mothers’ rooms and are not whisked away to a nursery out of sight. This allows for more time to get the hang of breastfeeding, if you decide to do it. If you have any questions, there are midwives available to help at all hours of the day.

 

Generous parental leave

Once you and the bebis head home, get in touch with Försäkringskassan to get your parental leave allowance going. (In some cases, you can activate your parental leave shortly before giving birth.)

Note: if you’ve never registered with Försäkringskassan before, do it as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. (Even if you’re reading this and are neither pregnant nor registered, do it!).

Registering with Försäkringskassan isn’t one of those obvious things that foreigners learn about when they move to Sweden, like getting a personnummer or registering with Migrationsverket. Getting into the Försäkringskassan system is important if you plan to take paid parental leave, if you need to stay home sick from work and want to get paid sick leave, if you need to care for a sick child and take time off from work, etc. In Sweden, fathers are also allowed parental leave, as are the parents in same-sex couples. If you are part of a couple, each parent has three months of parental leave set aside. Because Sweden is so progressive, there is both great peer pressure for and desire by men to actually take parental leave.

 

Barnbidrag

Simply for having a child, the Swedish state pays you. I’m not kidding. Every month, Försäkringskassan deposits SEK 1050 into our bank account. Families with more than one child receive more. Barnbidrag is quite old, dating to the first half of the 20th century, as a way of providing economic assistance to families. It doesn’t matter what your income is: every child receives a barnbidrag.

 

A guaranteed spot in heavily subsidized child care

At age one, children in Sweden are eligible for child care. In fact, the kommun in which you live is required by law to provide, within a four-month window of your request, a spot for your child in a förskola within a reasonable distance from your home. You are not guaranteed a spot in your first choice of preschool, but you are guaranteed a spot. That fact alone—and that child care is subsidized to the point where parents in other countries don’t believe me when I tell them how inexpensive it is (the maximum amount for your first child is less than SEK 1500 per month)—is simply awesome. As parents in Sweden, rare is the occasion when a parent cannot afford to pay for child care and has to choose between working and paying for child care.

This is merely a short list of all of the reasons why it’s great to give birth and raise children in Sweden: there are several others like free health care for kids, free university… well, free thanks to you and all of the other residents of Sweden who participate in the system by paying various taxes.

Feel free to discuss other advantages of parenting in Sweden in the comments section!

 

Alexandra D’Urso

Boston-area native Alexandra moved to Sweden in 2009 and gave up cod for smoked salmon and Sam Adams for wine in plastic bottles with screw caps. When not bragging about the awesome aspects of Swedish life to people back home, she spends time writing and laughing loud enough to disturb innocent bystanders.

Follow Alex and Your Living City on Twitter!

Studies show that massaging an infant can reduce crying and fussiness, alleviate gas pains and constipation and help them sleep more peacefully. Luckily for English-speaking mums in Stockholm, Yogabellies is a UK based company that provides baby massage classes and just happens to have 2 trained baby massage instructors based here in Stockholm.

massag

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Baby massage is available for infants from newborns until mobile and it is a wonderful opportunity for quality time to bond with your infant while gaining a host of emotional and physical benefits for parents and baby.  For example infant massage can alleviate trapped wind, soothe colic or alleviate constipation, ease teething pain and help unblock baby’s blocked nose. It can also alleviate the effects of postnatal depression and help mothers have a more positive interaction with their baby.

Yogabellies is a UK based company that provides baby massage classes and just happens to have 2 trained baby massage instructors based here in Stockholm. Karen Plummer teaches baby massage in central Stockholm and Elspeth Lamont, who is currently on maternity leave teaches baby massage and Yoga for children. For more details on Yogabellies and the classes Elspeth and Karen teach see www.yogabellies.co.uk.

 

Nothing is worse than having a sick child. But one thing that will make you feel a little better is knowing that healthcare for children in Sweden is good quality and low cost.

Sweden is seen as one the best place for children’s health care due to its having an extremely low child (0-5) mortality rate. A focus on preventative health care, quality medical services and staff, immunizations, and easy access to medical services contribute to this success.

All children in Sweden have access to free healthcare through federal taxation. They are entitled to regular developmental checks, immunizations, illness care, hospitalization, and dental work. Depending on the municipality, “child” can mean from conception to 25. You’ll have to contact your municipality to know the exact age range but most cover children until they reach 20 years old. And the best part: most services are completely free for children. Prescription medication is the exception. You will need to pay for your child’s medications but it is at a subsidized price.

Routine Healthcare

When your child is under five, you can take them to the Barnavårdscentralen (Children’s Health Center and BVC for short) for development checks. Children only go to the BVC when they are not sick. You will be assigned a nurse at the BVC who will track your child’s weight and height measurements. Children are also assessed here for developmental milestones (such as sitting, first words, stacking blocks, etc.). This is also where your child will get immunizations. You can find information about where your local BVC is located and make an appointment through Vårdguiden. Once your child is over five years old and is in school, preventative health checks and immunizations are provided through a nurse at the school.

Sweden’s Immunization Schedule:

Age Immunization
3 Months DTaP, IPV, Hib, PCV
5 Months DTaP, IPV, Hib, PCV
12 Months DTaP, IPV, Hib, PCV
18 Months MMR
5-6 Years DTaP, IPV
6-8 Years MMR
10 Years DTaP
10-12 Years HPV
12 Years MMR
14-16 Years DTaP

 

DTap = Diphteria, Tetanus, Pertussis

IPV = Polio

Hib = Haemophilius influenzae type B)

PCV = Pneumococcal disease

MMR = Measles, Mumps, & Rubella

HPV = Human Papilloma Virus

 

What to do when your child is sick

When your child is sick, you have many options for help. You can call Vårdguiden (Sweden’s Health Guide) at 08 320 100 or visit their website. It is recommended to call Vårdguiden when your child is sick to speak with a pediatric nurse who can give you instructions for care at home or recommend you see a doctor if needed. When you call, you are given three options in Swedish; push #2 on your phone to speak with a pediatric nurse. It is common that you will have to wait on the line for some time for an available nurse. You can speak English to the nurses and they will be able to help you. The service is free and open every day, at all times.

Another option is to call 1177 or go to the website at www.1177.se. This is a national service for medical advice. You can speak with a nurse at this number for advice for caring for your sick child. There is no fee for this service and it is available 24 hours a day, every day.

If you need to take your child to a doctor, follow the advice of the nurse when you call Vårdguiden. You will likely be directed to make an appointment at your regular doctor, pediatric office, or you may be told to go to your nearest emergency room. Before you or child ever gets sick, it is a good idea to stop by your nearest doctors’ office (husläkare ) and register your family. This usually just involves filling out a brief form and selecting a doctor. This will save you time later when you need to make an appointment for a sick child. Again, you can find information about nearby doctors and medical services through Vårdguiden. You can call Vårdguiden at the same number, 08 320 100 and select option #3 to speak with someone about finding medical services in your area. When you go to the doctor’s office, be sure to know your child’s personnummer. The doctor’s visit will be free of charge.

If your child is experiencing an emergency, call 112. This is the general emergency number in Sweden. All operators will be able to speak English with you.

 

Dental Care

Dental services are also free for children. You can take your child for regular check-ups or for emergency visits. You can visit this website, www.folktandvardenstockholm.se, to learn more about dental services available through Folktandvården (the national dental association). You can register your child and make appointments through the website. In Stockholm, children’s dental care is free until 19 years old.

 

Article: Jessica Larson

Photo Credit: hubertk

If you are new in town, want to meet other international people, or just learn a new skill or take a class, here’s a list of courses taught in English happening in early 2013.

For an English speaker in Stockholm, it can be hard to build the perfect social group. A great place to meet others is a one of Stockholm’s courses taught in English. We have searched the web, asked around, and have done are best to put together a list of courses tailored to Stockholm’s international group. Enjoy!!!

Here’s a list of classes you can ‘gift’ to your friends, family and even yourself.

Classes taught in English in Stockholm

If you are hosting or know of any other courses taught in English, please either email us about them or leave a comment below.

 

Classes run in English Starting in Early 2013

ART / CREATIVE CLASSES

Painting for Young People (Age 16 +)

Folkuniversitetet

Come and try different materials, learn basic techniques and develop your creativity. We will go through the basics of materials and techniques, works with common tasks and ideas.

Starts Thursday January 31st to April 18th and runs for 10 weeks

Thurs evenings from 19.00–21.15

Cost: 1650 SEK

For more information, click here

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Oil Painting

Folkuniversitetet

Explore the many possibilities for expression and development offered by painting! Paint still life and use our own ideas for pictures.

Starts Thursday January 31st to April 18th and runs for 10 weeks

Thurs evenings from 19.00–21.15

Cost: 2150 SEK

For more information, click here

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Improv. (Beginners level)

Theater: Improvisation & Co. in Odenplan

This class teaches the basic fundamentals of improvisation – spontaneity, listening, accepting and responding.

Date: Wednesday February 6 – April 24th from 19.50 – 22.05

Hours: 30

Instructor: Joshua Lenn

Course fee: SEK 2450

To sign-up go to the following link: http://improco.se/im.php?m=2&c=8&cn=Improv&p=63

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Improv (Continuation)

Theater: Improvisation & Co. in Odenplan

This class takes the basic fundamentals of improv spontaneity, listening, accepting and responding to the next level and focuses a lot on scene work, long form formats, genre work as well as theater sports.

Date: Wednesday February 6 – April 24th from 17.30 – 19.45

Hours: 30

Instructor: Joshua Lenn

Course fee: SEK 2450

To sign-up go to the following link: http://improco.se/im.php?m=2&c=8&cn=Improv&p=82

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Cake Decorating in English

Hej Sugar, Karlbergsvägen 54, 113 37 Stockholm

Susan Wright shares her wonderful skills in sugarcraft with 4 courses in English (click on the link for more details):

Introduction to cake decorating - Full day on either April 13th, May 4th or June 8th from 10:00 to 16:00

Fairytale Forest cupcake course - Full day on either April 20th or May 18th from 10:00 to 16:00

Introduction to Sugar Flowers - Evening course on either April 15th, May 6th or June 3rd from 18:30 to 20:30

Cute teddy bears – an introduction to cake modelling - Evening course on either April 29th, May 20th or June 10th from 18:30 to 20:30

For more information, click here

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Creative Painting

Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, 113 59, Stockholm

This course is not about learning how to paint. It is about the exciting discovery of how painting and art making could help our deeper thoughts and silent feelings take shapes and forms and surface. It is about discovering the uniqueness of the creative expression when it is driven by our own emotions. Suitable for beginners and advanced.

Starts Friday February 15th, 2013 and runs for 10 weeks

Fri afternoons from 15.00–17.15

Cost: 2975 SEK

For more information, click here

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Acting Workshop

Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, 113 59, Stockholm

Acting for beginners. The course will help you to be more confident in yourself, have fun on stage and learn some theatre keys with a mix of improvisation and drama methods.

Dates: Starts Saturday March 2nd from 10.00-13.30

Days: Runs for 4 weeks on Saturday mornings

Cost: 1450 SEK

For more information, click here

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Photography without Photoshop

Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, 113 59, Stockholm

Would you like to take great pictures but do not have enough basic skills? Do you have a digital system camera but do not really know how to handle it? If so, this is a Suitable course for you.

Starts Thursday March 7th, 2013 and runs for 8 weeks

Thurs evenings from 17.30–19.45

Cost: 3600 SEK

For more information, click here

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Photograph your baby

Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, 113 59, Stockholm

The course is designed for people who are on parental leave and who want to learn the basics of photography with a focus on taking portraits of your child. For children up to 12 months.

Starts Thursday March 7th, 2013 and runs for 5 weeks

Thurs afternoons from 13.30–15.00

Cost: 1350 SEK

For more information, click here

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Guitar for Beginners

Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, 113 59, Stockholm

The beginner’s level works with different fingering techniques and accompaniment. You will learn chords and the basics of reading music.

Dates: Starts March 9th to April 13th from 11.00-13.15

Days: Runs for 5 weeks on Saturdays

Cost: 1775 SEK

For more information, click here

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Creative writing

Medborgarskolan Hagagatan 23a, Hagagatan 23, Stockholm

The goal of this class is to find your own unique voice and to bring out the storyteller within you.

Starts Tuesday March 19th, 2013 and runs for 4 weeks

Tue evenings from 18.00–20.30

Cost: 1 232 SEK regular

For more information, click here

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Writing your memoir – Telling our stories

Medborgarskolan Hagagatan 23a, Hagagatan 23, Stockholm

Creative writing is one of the best ways to explore and record your live’s stories.It is stimulating and Fulfilling way to express yourself, and you’re never too young or too old to discover its wonders.  In this class you will discover your own unique voice and bring out your inner storyteller

Sunday April 19th, 2013 from 10.00–15.00

Cost: 750 SEK

For more information, click here

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Creative Writing and Narrative Theory

Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, 11359 Stockholm

English is one of the world´s major literary languages. Do you want to write in English, and learn its major narrative theories? Course Goals:

1. To familiarize participants with linguistic and narrative devices

2. To provide a historical background on compositional theory

3. To develop personal skills and writing styles

4. To introduce writers to the complexities of the publishing industry.

Dates: Starts Monday Feb 11th to 29th April, 2013 from 18.00–21.15

Days: Runs for 10 weeks on Mondays

Cost: 4090 SEK

For more information, click here

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Music Production: Mixing Approach & Techniques

Folkuniversitetet, Kungstensgatan 45, 11359 Stockholm

This course is aimed to educate musicians who record Their Own music in a project studio, the mixing techniques distressed by professional mix engineers.

Dates: Website states ‘Prel. V.4-7’

Days: Runs for 8 weeks

Cost: 5900 SEK

For more information, click here

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FITNESS/SPORT CLASSES

Two Day Beginners Yoga Course in English

Yoga Point, Inedalsgatan 21, 11233 Stockholm

This course will teach you the basics of Yoga and prepare you for Level 2 Intermediate classes. You can also choose to stay practising in Level 1 classes enjoying its balancing, stress-relieving effects. Bring your yoga mat here if you are recovering from injury, depression, sickness or if you just prefer slower tempo, relaxation and want to learn deeper meaning of Yoga.

Dates: 19th & 26th of January from 10.00 – 11.15am

Days: Runs for 2 weeks on Saturday Mornings

Cost: 390 SEK

For more information, click here

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Intermediate Yoga in English

Yoga Point, Inedalsgatan 21, 11233 Stockholm

Vinyasa yoga taught, but all classes are different according to the topic of the day and energy levels of the students. The teacher often combines several styles of yoga but is also inspired by martial arts, dance and using prana, the life force, as a basic fundamental source for the practice. 

Days: Tuesdays, Thursday and Sundays from 18:00 to 19:15

Cost: 10 sessions (drop in course) – 1300 SEK

For more information, click here

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OMamma Course – PrenatalYoga in English

Yoga Point, Inedalsgatan 21, 11233 Stockholm

Prepare for labour by maintaining flexibility in the muscles as well as building strength to ensure easier labour and post-partum recovery. Yoga can be started earliest on preg. week 12 or any other time of the pregnancy. Post-Natal mOMs can return to their regular Yoga practice trough Baby&Me course two moths after the birth. 

Dates: Staring from 21st January, runs for 7 sessions

Days: Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9:45 to  10:45

Cost: 950 SEK

For more information, click here

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Yoga in English:

Yin Yoga – Medborgarskolan  - Gångsätra gymnasium sports hall

When it comes to physical activity. yin yoga complements the dynamic (yang) yoga styles by focusing on connective tissue, joints and muscles, which you usually do not activate when exercising. The positions are held for several minutes allowing a gravity affect in a soft and comfortable way.

Dates: Starts January 13th from 17.15-18.45

Days: Runs for 17 weeks on Sunday evenings

Cost: 2500 SEK

For more information, click here

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K Yoga

Aktiv Hälsa 4 TR, Marcusplatsen 7 (across from Dieselverkstaden) and Dieselverkstaden, Marcusplatsen 17, Sickla, Musik & Danssalen, 3 TR

K Yoga offers Hatha yoga courses in English but they have not put next year’s dates up yet. Keep an eye on their website.

Currently 1200 kr for 8 beginners classes or 160 kr for drop in classes

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Skandinavisk Yoga och Meditationsskola

Västmannagatan 62, close to the Odenplan t-bana station

Yoga, relaxation and meditation at the Skandinavisk Yoga och Meditationsskola. No previous knowledge of yoga is not required for the beginner level classes.

March 18th – June 10th (no classes 1/4 & 25/4 to 17/5) Monday nights, 19.15 – 21.30 (9 classes) Price: 1590/1290 SEK

For more information, click here

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Meditation

Walking Meditation – Breath walking. Medborgarskolan Lindingö, Stockholmsvägen 62, Lindingö

A passport for both body and soul. We walk in silence and carry out various activities in the five-minute periods. Includes stretching and short meditation. No experience required.

Weekly Course from April 2nd (breaks for Easter in 14th week)

Tuesdays, 12.00 – 13.00 (10 classes)

Price: 995 SEK

For more information, click here

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Pilates

Pilates Light – Medborgarskolan  - Ansgar Church Multi hall one floor down, Odenvägen 3, Lindingö

For beginner and intermediate levels. You learn the Pilates system which functions as a tool for daily life. By practicing Pilates, you gain strength, flexibility, and improved posture. Through a combination of stretching, muscle extension and endurance at a relaxed pace, you will be strong and supple and improves your posture quickly and efficiently.

Weekly Course from January 14th (breaks for Easter in 14th week)

Mondays, 11.30 – 12.30 (16 classes)

Price: 1885 SEK

For more information, click here

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Qigong

Medborgarskolan Lindingö, Stockholmsvägen 62, Lindingö

Through breathing exercises and harmonious movement activated qi, life energy, and you get the flexibility and feel inner peace and balance. No experience required.

Weekly Course from January 15th (breaks for Easter w/b April 14th)

Tuesdays, 11.00 – 12.00 (16 classes)

Price: 2400 SEK

For more information, click here

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OTHER COURSES

Lidingö

Lidingö your new home – Medborgarskolan Lindingö, Stockholmsvägen 62, Lindingö

If you have just moved to Lidingö and would like more information about the beautiful island, than this lecture is for you! They will introduce Lidingö to you: where to shop, restaurants, archipelago trips, clubs, museums, Swedish customs, nature walks.

Make your first friends and meet people in the same situation.

Monday March 11th 2013 19.30–21.00

Cost: 195 SEK

For more information, click here

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Evening Fishing

Evening Fishing – location to be confirmed (meet at Lindingö shore)

Learn the theory and practice of this Swedish recreational sport. Equipped with a fishing rod and the right bait, we venture out to Lidingö shores to fish.

Tuesday March 16th 2013 19.30–22.30

Cost: 495 SEK

For more information, click here

 

Article and Research by Hannah Bradley

Photo Credit: LexnGer

Have you found yourself shocked, no frightened, no scratch that just plain appalled to see how much baby related products cost here? One thing almost any newcomer will tell you is how expensive it is to live & shop in Stockholm, and baby products are no exception.

A brio pram for 9000Sek ($1350), a manual breast pump for 600Sek ($92), a mobile for 650Sek ($100). What?

You might also be interested to read about:

When I was 8 months pregnant I knew I had to pick-up the essentials, but each time I walked into a baby shop I found myself repulsed by the high prices. Not even the miniature pants, socks, and cute toys helped me overlook the massive mark-ups. Even second-hand shops were expensive. Come on, who’s willing to pay 40Sek or $6 for this stained pair of newborn pants?

When the baby was due in less than a month, I would literally have to psych myself up to go into a baby store. Once inside, I would hover in front of items, convert SEK to dollars and think… I could get this same breast pump they are selling for 700Sek for 150Sek back home. Inevitably I would leave, empty handed, and even more stressed out than when I first went in. I knew I had to get at least the bare essentials before my baby arrived, but with the exception of IKEA for furniture; H&M, Lindex & KappAhl for baby clothes, I simply stopped going into, let alone shopping, in Swedish baby shops.

What was I to do?

Look to the Internet. My savior!

As a new mother living in a foreign country, online shopping has been the answer to my prayers. I found out that Amazon.co.uk offers free delivery to Sweden. Not only do they deliver to Sweden, but their prices on most things are SOOOOO much cheaper than the same item at a Swedish shop.

 

To get free delivery you need to spend £25 on items that are marked ‘Eligible for FREE Super Saver Delivery’. With this  in mind, I went shopping.

Look at our comparison chart below to see the difference prices between shopping online vs. shopping at Swedish shops.

The first time the postman dropped one of those little white package notifications from the post-office I felt such a rush of excitement! I simply love getting mail! Even though I was hugely pregnant at this stage, I would jump off the couch, race to the door to scoop up the mail slip and high tail it to the post office to see what surprise had arrived for me. For the next month we got at least 4 of these slips a week. My sambo started thinking I had an online shopping problem…but as far as I’m concerned, I found a solution :)

We recommend getting baby stuff from the UK because firstly it’s much cheaper for you, and secondly if you buy your baby items via our website, it helps support our site. So please click on the banner to the right or the products below and get shopping! It’s a win-win, so thank you for your support!

Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave (föräldraledighet) systems in the world. Parents are given 480 days of leave per child, and 420 of these days are paid at a rate of 80% of your salary up to a capped limited of 910 SEK a day.

If you are coming from the USA, where companies usually give between 14 to 90 days of mostly unpaid maternity leave, you might be thinking you are in ‘maternity-leave-heaven’. Well the truth of the matter is, you are!

As a new mum, I have learned that although the benefits are fantastic, it is not easy navigating through Försäkringskassan’s (the authority that handles parental leave benefits) rules and regulations. The system is seemingly based on a combination of strict rules and very loose guidelines. This is a combination that can leave one confused, irritated and on the phone to Försäkringskassan on almost a weekly basis.

But what does this mean for you? Well it means that as long as your case is 100% straight forward things will generally move along with great efficiency and ease. But if your parents leave claim lands in one of the many grey areas, things start to become much more complicated.

So first let’s cover the basics.

Parental Leave Basics:

Who’s eligible for parent leave?

To be eligible for basic benefits (180 SEK a day for 480 days) you must be a legal resident of Sweden

Who pays for parent leave?

Your employer does not cover the cost of your parent leave benefit, instead the Swedish Social Insurance Administration (Försäkringskassan) pays out the benefits.

Language you should be aware of:

  • Parental  leave: föräldraledighet
  • Maternity leave: mammaledighet
  • Paternity leave: pappaledighet

How many days will I get?

How many parent leave days are you entitled to?

Parents are entitled to 480 days of parent leave for each child. If you have twins you are entitled to an additional 180 days.

How are these days divided between parents?

Parents are encouraged to split these days equally between them.  If you do this, you will be entitled to an additional equality bonus.

However, it is possible for one parent to take up to 420 days of the 480 days. To do this the other parent has to ‘give these days’ to the other parent.

The only exception to this rule is for single parents with sole custody. In these cases, the parent can take all 480 days leave.

Can both parents take parent leave at the same time:

Yes. During the first 3 months of the new baby’s life, the father is entitled to be home for 10 days. These days are in addition to the 480 parent days.

In addition to these first 10 days, both parents are able to be home together for 30 days during your child’s first year. These are called ‘double days’ because you get 2 days of parent leave deducted – one day for each parent.

Can an employer deny parental leave?

No. Parental leave is a legal right for all parents in Sweden. This means a company cannot deny your request for leave for any reason. Companies, in addition to the 480 parent leave days per child, are also entitled to allow you to reduce your working hours by an additional 25%.

Note: You can reduce your working hours up to 25% even if your parental leave days have been used up, however, you will not be compensated for these reduced working hours.

Let’s Talk Money

How much money?

Now things start getting much more complicated. Your parental leave payment really depends on your personal circumstances, your immigration status, the amount of days you have been living and/or working in Sweden, your salary, and whether you have been working for the last 240 days.

Basic Level of Benefit (even if you have not worked in Sweden)

As long as you are a legal resident of Sweden you are entitled to the basic parental leave payment which is 180 SEK a day. This means you are eligible even if you have not been earning money in Sweden prior to your child’s birth. However, if you receiving parental benefits from other countries, this amount will be docked from your Swedish benefit.

Parent leave payment range:

If you are a legal resident of Sweden, have been legally working here for the last 240 days then in most cases you will be entitled to 80% of your salary for the first 420 days of your parent leave. The maximum daily payment is capped at 910 SEK a day.

Here’s a graph that shows the estimated payment amounts for various salaries and days taken per week.

When will you get paid:

Parent Benefits are paid out between the 25th & 27th of the month.

Can I work while on parent leave?

Working while taking parent leave:

A person cannot work full-time and also take parent leave benefits. However, you can work part-time and take parental leave the rest of the time.

How can parent Benefits be paid out:

Parental benefits can be paid out for full days, half days or even one-eighth of a day.

Parents can also get state compensation when they need to take time off work to look after a sick child. This is valid for parents of children up to 12, and sometimes for children up to 16, depending on the circumstances.

Contacting Försäkringskassan

How to get in touch with Försäkringskassan:

To claim your benefits and to find out how much you are entitled to in your particular circumstances, contact your local branch of Försäkringskassan.

You can reach their Kundcenter at 0771524524

Information in English: www.forsakringskassan.se/sprak/eng

Story by Morgan Erickson

Research done by Carmel Heiland

Are you looking for cafés and restaurants in Stockholm that are family friendly? Or somewhere to meet your girlfriends for fika that is calming for both mother and baby?  Your Living City provides you with the list of the most child-friendly eating places in town.

For a tourist, Stockholm exudes a very modern, urban environment, and it’s easy to assume that there’s little or no tolerance for wild little things that cling to our legs and climb under the tables. This however, would be a mistake; even the chicest joints will have a barnstol, or high chair, for your little one although it might be trickier to get your stroller through the door.

Finding a good café that you can enjoy with your children is one of the most important first steps when you arrive in a new city with kids in tow. Sometimes it’s like looking for a needle in a hay stack but luckily, we at Your Living City are great needle finders.

And, if you frequent a popular or charming café in your neighborhood, be sure to share it with our readers below!

Rosendals Trädgård

www.rosendalstradgard.se

Email: information@rosendalstradgard.se

Rosendal’s Garden is an open garden, with the main purpose of presenting bio-dynamic (organic) garden cultivation to the general public. Our plots and greenhouses yield a wide selection of bio-dynamically grown vegetables, flowers, herbs and pot-plants, most of it sold in the Plant Shop or the Garden Shop, or used for cooking in the café. Stroll or bike to this waterhole, see their nice website for more info -don’t miss all the courses they run! In the café, you won’t be disappointed, everything from cookies to light lunched, using only organically grown ingredients. But you can also bring your own picnic and meet up with friends under the apple trees! Don’t forget to buy some plants for the balcony or garden, and that unique present you needed for your mother-in law! The kids will love the open fields and nearby playground, the place is like a maze with goodies for everyone!

Saltsjöbus Café i Orminge Hus

Edövägen 2

Tel: 08-715 02 00

www.saltsjobus.se/

Email: info@saltsjobus.se

Just a 20 minute bus ride away you’ll find this play cafe, fun for both small babies and toddlers, with climbing soft play area, slide, boat, games, a room for reading and other fun stuff for kids. Mummies can relax whilst the children play. There is a small shopping area close by too. The family café has a nice atmosfhere, it feels like your sitting in your couch at home. They serve lunch, latte and yummy cakes.

Ulriksdals Slottscafé

Slottsträdgårdsvägen 8, 170 79 Solna

www.rappne.nu

email: slottstradgarden@rappne.nu

Bus Ulriksdals begravningsplats

Have a stroll in the big outdoor garden centre and chill with coffee in the relaxed café, seating both inside and outside. The garden café is placed in the heart of the green house. See how the growers are working, or just simply enjoy the beautiful sight of thousands of houseplants! They offer lots of homemade biscuits and cakes and are famous for the vegetarian buffét that’s served every weekday between 11:30-12:00.

Café 60

Sveavägen 60, 111 34

Stockholm

Ph: 08-23 55 22

Open: Mån-Tor 07.00-24.00

Fre- 07.00-02.00

Lör- 09.00-02.00

Sön- 10.00-24.00

www.cafe60.se

Yummy warm buns, delicious cakes and super friendly staff! Outside seating in the summer, two floors inside. Not super trendy but relaxed and nice. It is open until very late, should you crave for a coffee around midnight…

Cafe Blå Porten

Djurgårdsvägen 64

115 21 Stockholm

Telefon 08-663 87 59

www.blaporten.com/

Email: info@blaporten.com

Now this is one of the best places to go in the summer in Stockholm, but it is still open all year round! A neat oasis and one of a kind environment (history dating back to early 17th century). Meet up your best friends for fika or a glass of wine and afterwards take a stroll around Djurgården.. Food is simply fantastic but not super cheap. A must visit at some point!

Café Cloud at Kids Court

Kista Galleria

164 28 Kista

Getting there: T-bana Kista

Bus 178, 179, 514, 517, 518, 523, 537, 554, 567, 603, 627, 685, 687

www.kistagalleria.se/index/for_familjen/testsida.html

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Kista-Galleria/107981993464?ref=mf#!/pages/Kista-Galleria/107981993464?sk=info

A quiet and calm café near Kids Court, where there are plenty of children’s clothes shops, toy shops and a big play area for the children to run around in. There is also a nursing room, a microwave and a toilet with 2 changing tables. This place is made for children! On the first Monday of every month, Kids Court organise a get together for all parents/grandparents and children. There is coffee, tea, sandwiches and bakery items. Often there is a speaker that comes and talks/discuss relevant topics. It is also a great opportunity to meet other parents and children.

Café Coppola

Gallerian

Hamngatan 37

111 53 Stockholm

Getting there: T-bana T-centralen

Bus Sergels torg

www.gastrogate.com/restaurang/coppolacaffe

An open area café at the top end of the Galleria, in the middle of Stockholm. Take a break while you shop ‘til you drop!

Staff are friendly and there are plenty of food/bakery items to choose from.

Café Panorama/Ekoteket/Teaterbaren/Kulturhuset Stories

Kulturhuset

Sergels torg

www.kulturhuset.stockholm.se/default.asp?id=5617

Email: info.kulturhuset@stockholm.se

Baby friendly cafes/restaurants within the kulturhuset, right in the centre of town! Panorama has fabulous views and you can sit outside, with space for prams too. Ekoteket and Teaterbaren have lots of room for prams, delicious hot and cold food and cakes. Lastly Kulturhuset Stories is on the ground floor, you can have your pram with you or park it the designated pram parking. After lunch you can go and play on the 4th floor, Rum for Barn, which has play areas for all ages.

Café V

Strindbergsgatan 35

115 31 Stockholm

Getting there: T-bana Karlaplan/Stadion

Bus 42, 44

This is a café that has existed quite for some time. But is very updated and modern. They have a very fresh menu with “husmanskost”, soup, salads etc. On weekends they have a brunch that is available for all customers, small and big! They have a small toy box for children to play with as well. In summer time I can imagine it is great to sit outside in the sun.

Espresso House

Dalagatan 9G

11361 Stockholm

www.espressohouse.se/barstockholm.aspx

This espresso house is renowned for being a mummy friendly cafe, lots of space for prams, changing area, comfy seating and friendly staff. Seating outside once the warm weather appears and Vasaparken is just around the corner!

Ett litet kök R.O.O.M

Alströmergatan 20

112 47 Stockholm

www.ettlitetkok.se

E-post: mail@ettlitetkok.se

T-bana Fridhemsplan

Bus Fridhemsgatan/Fridhemsplan

1, 3, 4, 40, 49, 52, 62, 77

Child friendly lunch restaurant. They have a big open area. Great food and staff are friendly.

La Cucina da Noco (fd Café Noco)

Odengatan 47

103 15 Stockholm

www.gastrogate.com/restaurang/lacucinadanoco

T-bana Rådmansgatan, Odenplan, Tekniska Högskolan

Bus Stadsbiblioteket/Roslagsgatan/Jarlaplan

2, 4, 43, 59, 70, 515

Cosy café with american pancakes, italian ciabattas and salads. It has plenty of space for prams. You will definitely find yourself staying for more than one latte.

Le Café

Sturegallerian

Grev Turegatan 13A

114 46 Stockholm

T-bana Östermalmstorg

Bus Stureplan/Humlegården 1, 2, 42, 44, 55, 56

You can eat breakfast, lunch and have afternoon coffee/tea here. A dimmed relaxed area where parents can chill with their children over a healthy lunch or enjoy a coffee whilst the children are having a nap on the sofa. There is high chairs and you have shopping and “fika” under the same roof.

Ljunggren Café

Bruno Gallerian

Götagatn 36

118 26 Stockholm

T-bana Slussen/Medborgarplatsen

The Bruno Galleria has some shops and a restaurant surrounding the café. The café is placed in the middle of the galleria with comfy lounge seats. Child friendly, plenty of space for prams and great healthy salads.

Sundbyberg Caffe & Gelato

Sturegatan 6

172 31 Sundbyberg

T-bana Sundbyberg Centrum

Bus 504, 506, 515

Baby friendly Café just outside city centre. There are healthy salads and gorgeous chocolate cakes. Lots of baby chairs and space for prams. Staff are always friendly. You are close to grocery shops, pharmacist and other shops such as “Hälsa o Sånt”, “Lindex” and Solna Centrum that has even more shops and child friendly environments.

Wayne’s Coffee

2nd floor inside the Mio furniture store.

Sveavägen 20 (Mio)

111 57 Stockholm

Telefon 08 – 22 34 40

www.waynescoffee.se/

Email: info@waynescoffee.se

Wayne’s inside the Mio furniture store is a meet up place for those on parental leave, sometimes a bit crowdy and messy with all the kids but a great place for kids in Central town. They have baby food jars for sale and a small play area.