Lack of networks and support
The close relatives of many families living in Helsinki may live far away from the capital region or even in another country. This is why families may find it difficult to arrange child care assistance or find a babysitter. Families who have moved to the city from elsewhere may also find it difficult to build new networks when they are otherwise busy. It is not rare for people to lose contact with old friends when they become parents. However, parents may often find relief from the stress of daily life just by talking to another adult.
Services provided by the city
The City of Helsinki provides a number of opportunities for families to meet and receive assistance.
Many people only think of playgrounds as outdoor spaces, but several playgrounds in Helsinki also include great indoor facilities. A wide range of instructor-led activities are held in these facilities, providing natural opportunities for you to meet other families. Read more on the Playgrounds page.
Child care assistance subject to a fee is available through many service providers. Read more on the Temporary daycare page.
Another way for parents to find relief from daily life and get a moment to themselves is through club activities provided by daycare centres and playgrounds for children in home care.
Social care work for families with children consists of support, guidance and advice intended for children below school age and young pupils in various situations in life.
Tyttöjen Talo (in Finnish) is a youth centre for girls that provides support to young mothers. The activities for young mothers (in Finnish) are targeted at pregnant women and women who have given birth who are under the age of 21. Tyttöjen Talo also provides a wide range of activities for girls and women between the ages of 10 and 28.
Poikien Talo (in Finnish) is a meeting place for boys and men between the ages of 10 and 28.
There are many organisations operating in Helsinki that work with families and children, providing assistance, advice and peer support in relation to various situations in life.
The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare
The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL) holds Family Cafés in the Helsinki region. The organisation also arranges Support Persons for Families with Children and Communal Grandparenting activities. You can contact your child health clinic for further information on Strength for Parenting family groups. (Links in Finnish.)
Through an activity called Friend to an immigrant mother (in Finnish), you can get to know a woman who speaks Finnish. With her, you can learn Finnish, and the both of you can become familiar with the other’s culture. You can do your shopping together, go for walks or visit parks, among other things. You can also bring you children with you, if you want. (Links in Finnish.)
Mannerheim League for Child Welfare also provides short term child care help at your home, round the clock. You can use the child care service based on your and your family’s needs, for example when a child gets ill or the parents need a little break to relax, attend their hobbies or spend some quality time together. All MLL’s babysitters are interviewed, and receive training or instruction on the work. The babysitters have professional insurance. MLL’s child-care services also arrange further training for the babysitters, monitor their work and provide them with guidance.
Väestöliitto (The Family Federation of Finland) maintains the comprehensive Hyvä kysymys website, which provides a great deal of instructions, tips and peer support for families in the form of online discussions and chats. (Links in Finnish)
Support and assistance is also provided by Pienperheyhdistys (The Single Parents’ Association), which organises Buddies for Kids activities (in Finnish), among other things. Yhden Vanhemman Perheiden Liitto ry (The League of Single Parent Families) (in Finnish) also provides support for single parents.
Many families find themselves low on money and energy. Hope – Yhdessä ja Yhteisesti ry (in Finnish) offers help to low-income families with children facing an acute crisis, and children who have been taken into custody. At Hope, you can find, for example, donated clothes that are in good shape and suitable for the season.
Helsinki is home to many intercultural families with children, who can seek support through the Duo project or the Familia ry website. Parasta Lapsille ry (in Finnish) organises multicultural camps for families.
HelsinkiMissio can provide you with support in situations where you feel too alone to cope with your children. At HelsinkiMissio, you can find peer support and people to talk to help you deal with everyday tasks. The organisation provides mentors who support families, organises group activities for families with children and provides families with people they can talk to. (Links in Finnish)