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Germany has been ranked as one of the best places in the world for mothers to raise children. But how family-friendly is the country?
Germany was placed eighth in the 2014 Mothers’ Index Rankings report from Save the Children, up one place last year.
The top three places were held by Finland, Norway and Sweden respectively, while the lowest ranking three were all in Africa – Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia.
The annual report assesses the well-being of mothers and their children in 178 countries based on the education, health, economic and political status of the mothers in the country.
But what do expat mothers really think of raising their children in Germany?
“Berlin is the perfect place for raising kids,” said Catherine Bollet, originally from Aubagne, France. “Daycare is awesome, it’s subsidized and the ladies at the Jugendamt (department of children’s services) are lovely.”
“The playgrounds are the best and there are so many – it is pretty much kid-friendly everywhere,” she added. “The subway and trains are big enough for huge strollers, not like stupid Paris where you get yelled at for having even the tiniest stroller. There is only one kid’s cafe in Paris. In Berlin there are so many.”
Kate Price, who is originally from Manchester, said children in Germany appeared healthier and more active than their British counterparts.
“They get to run around a lot and have more freedom, earlier on. Parents don’t seem as paranoid either,” she said. “Pre-school care is brilliant and state schools, despite the moaning, are pretty good – especially if you get a free bilingual place.”
Elizabeth from Hamburg agreed with Kate. “Children in Germany are much more independent from an early age. They have more responsibility than the children in the UK. They get themselves ready for school and take themselves off to dance class after school.”
But she added: “I don’t think there is enough sport at school here. Because they finish school at 1.30pm, the parents are expected to take them to sports activities which is bad if you have to work.”
One thing all three mothers agreed was positive about Germany was the amount of child benefit they receive from the state.
“The Kindergeld (child benefit) is really good and the more kids you have the more money you get. In the UK you get less money per child. When we moved to Germany, the state even backdated the Kindergeld. That would never happen in the UK,” Elizabeth said.
What are your experiences of raising children in Germany? Have your say below.