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Family Life and Childcare for Expats in Russia

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: April 2014

Russia is the largest country in the world. There are more than 160 ethnic groups in Russia, each with its own characteristics and traditions in culture, religion, language, clothing, customs and family life.

In Russia, many families consist of three or more generations living under one roof. This often includes;  grandparents, parents and siblings, sometimes widening to include uncles, aunts and cousins. Although this has started to change in recent decades as many of the younger generation now choose to live alone or with their spouses away from the family home. This is most common in larger cities where flat or apartment accommodation is popular. Children may decide to move away but the bond with their parents will remain close.

Traditionally, Russian people would get married at around 20 years old. Nowadays, the average age to get married is between 20 and 28 years old for men and slightly younger for women due to the unbalanced ratio of men to women. Women tend to be family oriented, taking responsibility for the home and looking after their children while men work full time and take time to socialise afterwards. For duel earner parents it is common for the grandparents to move in and look after the children with friends and siblings also offering support when needed.

If you have chosen to move to Russia with your children and you are not lucky enough to have help from family members, you may want to find an appropriate nursery for your children.

In Russia, there are state run nurseries and private nurseries. State run nurseries often admit as many children as they can and this may cause them to overlook an individual child’s needs.  While private nurseries, on the other hand, often provide better services with more focus on children’s self-developments.

In larger cities, where most expatriates choose to live, there are better childcare facilities. There are many good preschools and nursery schools catering for the needs of expatriates. Some of them admit children from as young as one years old. Many are taught in English but other languages are also available.  These schools are often established with high international standards.

However, good nurseries are always popular which could mean admission for your child is a struggle. Many Russian parents will register their children to queue for a place in a nursery from their children’s birth. Unfortunately most nurseries often give priority to Russian citizens and permanent residents so it is recommended that you try to secure a place for your child as early as possible. New colleagues or neighbours may be able to suggest good pre-schools in your area but it is worth researching the area before you move, perhaps online or by seeking advice from your local embassy.  You may need to discuss admission with the school mater.

Employing nannies to help has become increasingly popular in Russia, costs depend on where you live, the level of experience  the nanny has and the type of service you choose.

If you are moving to Moscow, then you may find some useful information on this website: https://www.childreninmoscow.ru/en/.



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