There are plenty of countries in the world where kindergarten can cost a huge amount of money, and severely impact the economy of the parents. But what is the cost of kindergarten in Norway like? Some might guess that kindergarten is very expensive in Norway (like most things), but they would actually be completely wrong.
Norway uses a max cap pricing system for kindergartens. The price cap for a spot is set at 3,050 NOK ($325) per month, plus around 200 – 400 NOK for kindergartens who serve food to the children. This is per child per month for a full 100 % spot.
It is not possible for kindergartens to charge parents more than this 3,050 NOK per month, and this applies to both public as well as private kindergarten. The max price tends to change a little bit every year, and has been around 3,000 NOK for a few years now.
The max cap also applies to anyone who gets a spot in a Norwegian kindergarten, including foreigners who have moved to Norway. So you do not need to be a permanent citizen in Norway to get the max kindergarten price cap.
Why Norway has a price cap on kindergarten
The reason why kindergarten is so cheap in Norway is because it is subsidized by the government. The cost of running a kindergarten in Norway is far higher than the income they get from the parents who are paying for their children, so the rest is financed from public founds.
One of the major reasons why this max cap is in place is to make sure that everyone can afford to send their children to kindergarten. There’s also several different options for lowering the max price, and everyone with low income can apply to get a reduced payment.
The general rule is that families who has an income of less than around 600,000 NOK per year will get a reduced pay. The lower the income, the less they pay. I was a student when I got my first child, and we only had to pay a few hundred crowns each month for a kindergarten spot since we both were students with a low income (most students get student loans who do not count as income).
This allows all children to attend kindergarten, reducing social differences between the rich and the poor in Norway. It also allows both parents to get back to work, reducing the payment gap between the different sexes that can often be impacted by the fact that it’s the mother who tends to stay longer home with children.
Read more: How to apply for kindergarten in Norway.
Kindergartens can charge extra for food
There is a small exception to the max pay, and that has to do with food money. Each kindergarten can change extra for food that the children eat during the day.
Most kindergartens charge around 200 – 400 NOK per month, but there are also examples of kindergarten who charge up to 800 NOK monthly for food money. The latter example is very rare, and mostly tied to upscale neighborhoods.
This food money extra is not regulated, but statistics show that most places only charge a few hundred crowns monthly. It’s also worth noting that food money is exempt from any benefits such as low income, so everyone pays the same.
Some kindergartens have two meals daily, while others require you to pack lunch for your child. The latter option is a bit cheaper, but obviously takes some more work.
And even though it will reduce the bill from the kindergarten, the cost of packing lunch for your kid every day is likely to cost a bit as well, and I have found the kindergartens with “all inclusive” to be the cheapest in the long run.
The cost of hiring a nanny or babysitter in Norway
Even though kindergartens are subsidized in Norway, hiring a nanny is not, so this is as expensive as you can probably expect.
A survey from 2020 found that the average price for a “full-time” nanny in Norway was around 12,000 NOK per month. This is almost 4 times the cost of the same spot in a kindergarten! The cost was for a shared nanny that took care of a handful of children alone, and not a private nanny that only took care of a single child.
If you want a private nanny that only looks after your child, expect to pay a full-time income to that person. You can expect this to be somewhere around 30,000 to 35,0000 NOK per month.
Other types of childcare services are also not not subsidized, so they are also pretty expensive as well.
Any childcare outside of kindergarten is free to choose their own prices, and this is by no means regulated. Some nannies can be cheap, other can be expensive, and you are free to choose whichever nanny you want.