Well, what a novel idea!
A group of Danish nurseries has come up with a unique way to help the country’s low birth rate. They have decided to offer parents an evening of free childcare so they can go home and, eh-hem, make more babies!
Seven kindergartens in Denmark are taking part in the novel scheme, offering two free hours off for parents in the hope that it will encourage them to go home and get jiggy with it. Employees at one kindergarten said they hoped the scheme would draw attention the country’s dwindling number of births and ageing population, and said it might encourage parents to do something about it.
The first free evening of the scheme was hosted on Thursday night and was designed as a party for the children, complete with music and a tea party.
Meanwhile, their parents skipped home to procreate for two hours.
“We have 42 children in the kindergarten, and we’ll be looking after 20,” Dorte Nyman of the Grasshoppers kindergarten in North Fyn, told The Telegraph.
“If the children ask what the party is for, we’ll tell them it’s to give the parents a chance to speak at home,” she added.
Ms Nyman said if their evening was successful, Grasshoppers kindergarten would be happy to host more events in the future.
Many parents have apparently said they will take advantage of the evening, but not for the reason intended.
We’re hoping the mums and dads had a better bonding session than hovering the house together, but it seems unlikely.
“Lots say, 'We’ll bring our children to the party but you won’t be getting any more children out of us’,” Ms Nyman said.
Denmark’s birth rate is 185th in the world and in 2011, 4,400 fewer Danish children were born than in 2010. For the first three months of 2012, the number declined even further with this year due to be the lowest birth rate in the country since 1988.
Demographers are fearing the low birth rate and ageing population will affect the welfare system negatively.
Hans Oluf Hansen, former professor of Economics at the University of Copenhagen, said: “Our fertility rate is well under the replacement rate. In the long run, there will be fewer young people to provide for the elderly.”
According to experts, the continued decline in birth rates in Denmark is because fewer families are having a third and fourth child, which would help compensate for those with one or no children.
For the population to remain at a constant level, experts say that the fertility rate must be slightly above two children per woman, but last year, the fertility rate was just below that at 1.76 per woman.
Ms Nyman said the lack of children meant the future funding of local nurseries was uncertain.
“Without money we can’t look after the children well, and if there aren’t enough children, there are not enough jobs for our workers.”
We don’t know if Ireland needs this idea to be taken on board, but we’re pretty sure it would be received quite well…