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    Updated on May 6, 2019. Posted on Sep 9, 2018

    10 Things That'll Make American Parents Say "Sounds Fake, But OK"

    Free public transit and money for having children? Yes, please.

    1. Parents traveling with children age six or younger can ride public transit for free in Finland — and some train cars look like this.

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    All trams, buses, and trains in Helsinki are wheelchair and stroller accessible, too!

    2. In the Netherlands, insurance pays for nurses to visit new parents at home after they give birth to help with the baby and other household responsibilities.

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    Instead of bundling up their baby and leaving the house for a post-natal appointment, new parents can expect a kraamverzorgster, aka a home maternity nurse, to come over for 3-8 hours a day, for up to 10 days after birth. The nurses teach basic parenting skills, like how to feed and bathe a newborn, but they also help the parents do tasks like laundry and grocery shopping.

    3. German parents are given an allowance called Kindergeld to help them pay for the costs of childrearing.

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    Taxpayers — including many expatriates! — are entitled to 190 Euros or more per month (you receive more if you have more than one child) until their child turns 18. That is a lot of euros!!! (It comes out to about $2,640 a year in US dollars.)

    4. Australia has government-subsidized sleep schools that help teach babies how to sleep through the night.

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    If your baby won't sleep through the night, it's literally not your problem. All you need is a doctor's note to get you and your little one covered for a five to seven night stay at a sleep school, where trained nurses work to get babies (and parents) on a reasonable sleep schedule. They're usually attached to hospitals, offer condensed two-night programs, and, uh, can I please go to one for adults???

    5. Sweden offers a gender equality bonus to make it easier for parents to split childcare responsibilities evenly.

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    If you manage to spend equal time raising your child in Sweden, you literally get money for it. The bonus was introduced in 2008 as a way to make sure that mothers could get back to work more easily if they wanted to, and that fathers pulled their weight. It doesn't hurt that parents can share 480 days, or around 16 months, of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted.

    6. Also, if you have to miss work to take care of a sick child in Sweden, you can get compensated for it.

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    It's called VAB, and you can get covered by it for up to 120 days per year if you need it.

    7. New Zealand has a non-profit called Plunket that does things like free home visits and car seat installs, and drives around a van filled with toys for children to play with.

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    It also runs a hotline where you can call in with any parenting question, from health concerns to general advice, 24 hours a day.

    8. France offers travel discounts for families with three or more small children.

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    The carte famille nombreuse allows bigger families to travel on trains (and to shop!) for a much lower rate; low-income families also receive a 25-50% discount for travel.

    9. German workers can reduce their weekly hours from 35 to 28 for up to two years to look after their families.

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    Workers can also participate in this benefit if they need to care for sick or elderly relatives. Pretty sweet, Germany.

    10. Finland provides baby boxes for new parents that contain everything they'll need for their new child when they go home for the first time.

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    Those maternity packages contain 64 different items, including gender-neutral clothes, diapers, toys, and prenatal and parenting information. And once all of the helpful stuff is taken out, babies can (and often do) sleep in the boxes! The information the box provides has also helped drastically decrease the infant mortality rate in Finland.

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