An American mom of two under two is living her best life in Norway. Krysta Alexa documents her life in Scandinavia and compares living “in the fjords” compared to American everyday life.
Recently, Krysta posted a video explaining child care costs in Norway, noting prices as well as what the child care system looks like — y’know after news moms take their one year paid maternity leave.
Her answers had everyone in the comments “crying in American” because, as many of us unfortunately know, U.S. childcare costs are un-freaking-real.
“I am an American on maternity leave in Norway, and I also have one boy who’s in kindergarten,” she begins.
“Kindergarten or ‘Bolna Hågge’ in Norway is very different than it is in the States. It starts from when you’re one year old up until you go to elementary school, which starts when you’re six.”
Krysta explains that the kindergarten system and cost is arranged and set for families based on where they live in the country.
“So I, living in Bergen, pay a maximum amount of 3,000 kronor per month which is about $275 US dollars, and you only pay 11 out of the 12 months of the year,” she says.
Yes, that’s right! $275 a month. That’s less than $70 a week. That’s one meal for three on Grub Hub with tax, tip and fees!
Norwegian parents can pay extra per month to provide food for their kids enrolled in public kindergarten, which is around $30 extra a month.
“Private kindergartens can charge a little bit more but not more than the cost of actual food. This also includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks throughout the day. Sometimes they even grill by bonfire and eat outside quite a lot. It’s super cute,” she said.
Other perks of Norwegian child care includes a sibling discount where if you have multiple children, your second child gets a 30% discount and every child after that has 100% paid for child care. your third or subsequent children would gets an 100% discounts after that.
“There are also discounted tuition for low-income families, and if for some reason you don’t get a spot in a kindergarten, you can also get a stipend to help you cover the costs of arranging your own form of childcare or taking off from work. It is just overall fantastic,” she said.
Krysta also mentions that kids in Bolna Hågge spend several hours outdoors, connecting with nature.
“They put so much emphasis on being outside, connecting on nature, playing. They’ll do bonfires. Go on excursions. A lot of kindergartens also have all of the kids snapping outside in their strollers bundled up throughout the entire year, breathing in that fresh Norwegian air.”
Krysta’s video gained almost 2 million views with thousands of TikTok users from around the world commenting on Norway’s affordable child care costs. Several American moms lamented over U.S. childcare costs compared to the Scandinavian country.
“That’s incredible! This country is so far behind that it’s insane,” one user wrote.
“Every single day I dream of getting out of the US 😭,” another wrote.
A 2020 report found that the national average annual cost of childcare was $10,174 per child. That’s more than 10% of the median dual income for a married couple, and more than 35% percent of the median income for a single parent.
Last week, the care of millions of children hung in the balance as the emergency funding allocated to child care providers during the pandemic expiring.
Issued as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the program marked the largest investment in child care in US history and allowed fragile businesses to cover rent and maintenance and raise wages for their notoriously underpaid staff. The Biden administration has reported that the grants helped 80% of US licensed child care centers stay afloat.
Affordable childcare in America is a unicorn, and you might have fly over the ocean to get a glimpse.