Childcare in Sweden

Børnehånd og traktor
Sandy Millar/Unsplash
Swedish daycare institutions are for children aged 1-5. You can read about payment for childcare services and whether you are entitled to daycare for your child in Sweden.

In Sweden, it is generally the municipalities that are responsible for childcare, called preschool (förskola) and educational care (pedagogisk omsorg).

There are different types of childcare for children aged 1-5. When you are working, studying, looking for work, or you are at home with the child’s younger siblings, you are entitled to childcare.

Parents must pay for their child’s place in a Swedish daycare institution.

A place in a daycare institution

You are entitled to childcare from the date of the child’s first birthday. You cannot expect to be offered a place earlier than that, nor if you work in another country where parental leave is shorter.

In order to apply for a place in a daycare institution, you must be either registered in the applicable municipality or must be able to prove that you will be a permanent resident in the municipality. There are no national regulations for the documents you must show to prove that you are planning to live in a Swedish municipality.

Contact the municipality in which you plan to live for information about the municipality’s practical procedures and the documentation they need to check that you and your family are living, or planning to live, in the municipality. The regulations vary from municipality to municipality.

According to the Swedish Association of Local Authorities (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting, SKL), the municipality may not insist that your child has a Swedish personal identity number before you can apply for a childcare place in a daycare institution in a Swedish municipality.

Preschools in Sweden

The usual form of childcare for children aged 1-5 is in a preschool (förskolan). Preschools in Sweden cover both nursery and preschool, where the children are divided into groups according to age.

The preschool is an educational group activity that children may participate in from the age of 1 and until they start in the preschool class (förskoleklass) or school.

The preschool has its own curriculum that is obligatory. There are municipal preschools and private preschools run by parents.

All preschools are open all year round. Preschools are open during the day, but in some municipalities there are also preschools that are open in the evenings and at night. Contact the municipality to which you will be moving for further information.

If you are unemployed or on parental leave, your child is entitled to a place for at least three hours a day or 15 hours a week. Some municipalities offer more than this.

In Sweden, there is a maximum charge (‘maxtaxa’), a ceiling to how much parents have to pay for childcare in a daycare institution.

Educational care in Sweden

Educational care (pedagogisk omsorg) can, for example, be an educational activity for registered children in the applicable daycarer’s home, or it can be various types of multi-family solutions. This can be an alternative to the preschool.

Contact the municipality to which you will be moving for further information about educational care.

Children in a Swedish daycare centre when you do not live in Sweden.

If you want a place for your child in a daycare institution because you are working in Sweden but live in one of the other Nordic countries, contact the municipality in which you are working to find out if the municipality can offer you a solution even if you do not live in Sweden.

Ask Info Norden

Please fill in our contact form if you have any questions or if you have encountered an obstacle in another Nordic country.

NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.

Info Norden is the information service of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Here you can find info and tips if you wish to move, work, study, seek support or start a business in the Nordic region.