Historically, the majority of Sweden’s population lived in rural areas, as every family owned small farms prior to the advent of the age of industrialization. Eventually, tractors and other mechanical equipment paved the way for automation, which replaced most of the manual work rendered by farm owners and their workers.
As the use of pesticides and fertilizers made cultivation on poor soil possible, many farms increased in sizes. As a result, smaller farms were unable to keep up with production, which Swedish lawmakers at The Riksdag (Swedish parliament) tried to remedy.
During the 18th century, land reforms were enacted to see to the fair and equal distribution of land for both agricultural and industrial purposes; as well as for the development of urban residential areas. The land reforms included programs to help small farm owners upgrade their farming equipment and methods.
However, since farm operations were no longer labor intensive, the succeeding generations of rural residents began to migrate to industrialized urban areas in the 1950s. The exodus of rural folks to industrialized sectors left many villages in the countryside nearly deserted.
The Urbanization of the Swedish Population
As the number of families living in urban areas grew, the 1960s onwards saw the eventual urbanization of the Swedish population. However, it was common for both mothers and fathers of Swedish families to engage in full time work. Doing so enabled them to buy a house, or rent an apartment and pay for other basic necessities like food, utilities and clothing.
Nonetheless, lawmakers at The Riksdag saw the need to provide Swedish parents with support to help them maintain balance between work commitment and parenting obligations. To make payments of high taxes work for the citizens. the Swedish parliament enacted laws that provided Swedish families with child care benefits.
Swedish parents are entitled to receive monthly child care allowance for each offspring, avail of free medical and health care for children from ages 0 to 16, free education from elementary level up to senior high school, and free public transport for children. Parents also have the option to enroll their preschool children in government subsidized day care facilities that doubled as early childhood learning centers.
Additionally, The Riksdag also enacted laws that permitted not only mothers, but also fathers to take paid parental leaves to ensure that early childhood care will be provided by both parents; either by taking turns or simultaneously. Swedish parents can also request shorter work schedules, especially when entrusting the care of younger children to preschool daycare facilities.
Although children in urban areas are less prone to getting injured or encountering accidents that usually happen in farm environments, most urban parents make sure that their children are sleeping and playing safely in their rooms or other parts of the house. Babyvakt gadgets or baby monitors, which may include HD cameras or those that can be accessed via smartphones are quite popular as child care tools for many modern Swedish parents.
Aside from their natural desire to ensure the safety of their children, Swedish parents cannot afford to fail in carrying out their parenting responsibilities. Mainly because the government’s Ministry of Health and Social Services is quick to investigate complaints or reports of child neglect or abuse. In the event that agents of the Ministry deem the complaints or reports valid, the affected child will be removed from the parents’ care.
Annually, families spend vacations in their rural hometowns to reconnect with their roots, as well as to enrich their children’s learning experience about the many facets of nature.