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  • Ideas on childhood and parenting have changed over time. ​
  • Today, childhood is a time to play and learn. Parents want to spend time with their children and know as much as possible about what goes on at their children's school and leisure activities. ​
  • The collaboration of home and kindergarten/school is important.​
  • Most parents also want to know their children's friends and their parents. ​
  • In Iceland, parents often communicate casually through social media regarding their children's friendship or leisure activities. ​
  • Children learn many things outside the home and are influenced by society. It is important to let children express their experiences, opinions and thoughts. ​
  • Most parents sometimes find parenting difficult. ​
  • Corporal punishment is illegal in Iceland. Neither teachers nor parents can subject children to corporal punishment. ​
  • Health care centers and municipalities' social services offer useful courses for parents on parenting that works and ways to bring out positive skills. ​


  • In parenting, routine is good and having few but clear rules on what is and is not allowed - and following them. In order to reinforce positive behaviour, it's necessary to notice it and praise children when things are going well. ​
  • ​ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is an example of a disorder that can cause discomfort and difficulties for children, both in their private lives and at school. You can get help at
  • The website is a public page with a plethora of useful information and educational materials on physical and mental health and development for all stages in life. ​
  • Additionally, advice can be sought from professionals or friends, by reading articles or books, listening to lectures, attending courses or finding (reliable) information online. ​


  • Adolescence, the age of 13-18, is often challenging., both for the adolescents and their parents. ​
  • Their self-image is being formed and young people are impressionable. ​
  • Studies show that the most effective preventative measures against young people's alcohol and drug use are positive time spent with parents and organised sports and leisure activities. ​
  • It's important to notice changes in adolescents' behavior and seek help immediately, e.g., at the school, health care clinic, from a psychologist or certified organisations if need be.​

​Phone and Screen Usage of Children and Adolescents

  • Children today are growing up in an environment that's loaded with devices and technological innovations. By using these devices sensibly, they can be a part of a good upbringing. ​
  • Children's first experiences with smart devices should always be with parental guidance and children's screen time is the parents' responsibility. ​
  • Too much screen time can have a negative effect when it replaces positive activity, such as social interaction, exercise, sufficient sleep and a healthy lifestyle. See instructions on screen time based on a child's age. ​

 How Long Children and Adolescents are Permitted to Stay Outdoors

  • There are rules on how long children and adolescents are permitted to stay outdoors:​
    • Children under 13 years of age should not be out in public after 20:00.​
    • Adolescents aged 13-16 years should not be out in public after 22:00, unless they are going straight home after an authorised school, sports or youth event. ​
    • During the period from 1 May to 1 September, both groups are permitted to stay outdoors for a further two hours (until 22:00 and midnight). ​
    • Parents have a right to not permit their children to stay out that late. ​​

Freedom of Children and Adolescents

  • Many who move to Iceland think that children and adolescents in Iceland have a lot of freedom. ​
  • Children and adolescents often play outdoors without supervision and during summer, they often stay outdoors until the evening. ​
  • Icelandic society is generally considered very safe and because of the sparse population, children have been able to travel around their immediate surroundings by themselves or with friends more than in many other countries. ​
  • However, always take the age and development of children into account when outdoors by themselves and ensure their safety. ​
  • It is important for children to have a framework, e.g. a specific time they are to come home, time for homework, mealtime and bedtime. ​

 Participation in Leisure Activities is Important

  • Participating in leisure activities, e.g., sports helps children and adolescents in many ways, e.g. by:​
    • Making friends.​
    • Learning and practicing Icelandic.​
    • Gaining shared experiences with their schoolmates. ​
    • Developing new skills. ​
  • The Red Cross and other organisations provide grants for leisure activities for the children of refugees and/or low-income families. It is also possible to get a guide and language friend through the Red Cross. 
  • It is important to feel that you are a part of the community you live in. That happens, for example, by participating in the same things as others and being treated equally. ​
  • In sports or other leisure activities, Icelandic language skills aren't tested as much as in school, so children and adolescents have an opportunity to flourish from the beginning of their life in Iceland by participating in such activities.​
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