Many foreigners feel that there is a good balance between family and work in Denmark and believe that Denmark is a good country for children to grow up in.
In general, foreign families enjoy living in Denmark. Most feel that there is a good balance between family and working life because time is available for the family.
Danish employers generally respect their employees’ family life, and many workplaces offer you the opportunity to adjust your working hours so that you can pick up your child from the childcare. Furthermore, most people live relatively close to their place of work and therefore spend less time in traffic.
Children in Denmark
Most foreigners living in Denmark believe that Denmark is a good and safe country for children to grow up in. There is not as much traffic and pollution as in many other countries and personal safety is high. At the same time, there are many facilities available to children and their families – e.g. sporting facilities, parks, amusement parks and museums.
Children in Denmark have many opportunities to lead an active leisure life with sports, scouting, music or other interests that can be pursued in associations and clubs.
Childcare facilities as well as the educational system focus on an equal dialogue – both between children and adults and between girls and boys, and children are raised in the spirit of democracy.
The number of children in day-care centres or private day care continues to increase; more than 90% of 3-5-year-olds were registered in 2000 as opposed to 75% ten years earlier. This must be seen in relation to a steep increase in the proportion of working mothers with small children. The role of the housewife looking after children at home has almost disappeared.
In Denmark almost every adult works – also the women. There are mothers who remain at home and look after their children for years, but they’re few and far between. In Denmark you can have a year’s maternity leave paid for by the state, and most women take a half or a full year off when they’ve just had a child, but then they return to their jobs.
Many new fathers also take advantage of the opportunity of leave, but not as many as mothers. Some mothers have part-time jobs, but most work full time, and that means 7 or 8 hours. That’s why many young children spend many hours in day-care centres each day.
When they’re about 6 years old, it’s time to go to school. They start by going to a pre-school nursery class. In the nursery school class the children have to get used to sitting quietly on their chairs and listen to what the teacher says.
School children often spend a couple of hours each day in a kind of youth centre, until they get old enough to be home alone in the afternoon – or visit friends to play, which many kids prefer. So in the busy Danish society, the family often spends time together only in the evenings and week-ends – and of course during holidays.
The division of work in the home has become more equal, especially in families with small children, where the woman is younger, goes out to work and has a higher education. But it is still the women who do most of the domestic work. When both parents go out to work, there is in families with children less time for contact between parents and children, and a greater need for having the children looked after.
Denmark has acceded to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. A council, the National Council for Children, has been set up to ensure that Denmark adheres to the Convention. In Denmark it is not allowed to hit children – neither in public nor at home.