Bringing up children in Budapest

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If you’re moving to Budapest and planning to bring up your children here then you’ve got some extra things to arrange and consider when planning your relocation. Budapest is a great city to grow up in, with good entertainment and education infrastructure for young ones.

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Enrolling your children in school in Budapest

In Hungary, school is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 18, however, there are pre-schooling options for children from 6 months onwards.

Here’s how the school system works:

  • 6 months - 3 years: Nursery school (bölcsĹ‘de). Attending nursery school is optional.
  • 3 years - 7 years: Kindergarten school (Ăłvoda). Children must attend one year of kindergarten school before moving on to the next stage of education. The first two years are optional.

Most private schools offer nursery and kindergarten schools together at the same institution. The blog Budapest Moms has put together a useful list of nursery and kindergarten schools in Budapest.

After kindergarten, children progress through school as follows:

  • 6 years to 14 years: Elementary school (általános iskola). Children attend elementary school for 4, 6 or 8 years before moving to various secondary levels of education.
  • 10 years to 19 years: Secondary school (gimnázium). Depending on when students left elementary school, students will spend either 4, 6 or 8 years at secondary school learning a mix of academic subjects.
  • 14 years to 19 years: Vocational secondary school (szakközĂ©piskola) and trade school (szakmunkáskĂ©pzĹ‘). Students are taught specific skills related to an industry they want to work in.

There are many public and church funded schools in Hungary as well as plenty of private and international schools for those who want teaching based on a British, American or other foreign curriculum. There are also a number of bilingual public schools that tend to cater to the German, Serbian and Slovak minorities in Hungary.

Enrolment into public schools takes place in March, and parents will need their child’s birth certificate, their health insurance card, address card and a kindergarten teacher’s report. While the education is free, parents will need to pay for textbooks and other equipment. Families with more than three children are exempt from paying for textbooks. International schools have their own enrolment procedures and fees.

Finding babysitters in Budapest

If you’re looking for a babysitter in Budapest, Babysits is an online service for finding them

Simply asking around at school or at mothers groups is another way to find a good babysitter, and you’ll get the added peace of mind of a recommendation from someone you can trust. Finally, you can go on Google you need to search for “gyermekfelügyelet” or “bébiszitter szolgálat” to find listings on Hungarian websites.

Other activities for children

Keeping children entertained can be hard enough at the best of times, but Budapest has plenty to keep children of all ages occupied. There are plenty of parks and playgrounds in the city and a trip to the zoo is a great idea as well.

If you want to keep them active consider swimming classes, while if you want to raise a budding creative you can enrol them for performance classes at Dramaworks, dance classes at Dance Craze Academy or find them a music teacher. Funside also organise summer camps for children.