Four out of 10 children (41.6 per cent) in Cyprus aged less than three years were cared for exclusively by their parents in 2019, slightly below the EU27 average of 47.1 per cent, according to figures released by Eurostat.

Nearly an equal number — 39.6 per cent — were cared for by their grandparents, other relatives or professional childminders for at least one hour per week (EU average 26 per cent). And fewer than one in three, 31.6 per cent were in formal care for at least one hour per week (EU 27: 35.3 per cent).

Shares do not add to 100 per cent exactly because parents can use different forms of childcare arrangements, Eurostat noted.

It said that the share of children under three years of age cared for by only their parents varied considerably across the EU Member States, from a low of 21.2 per cent in the Netherlands and 22.6 per cent in Portugal, up to over 60.0 per cent in Croatia (60.8 per cent), Slovakia (61.2 per cent) and Latvia (63.8 per cent), reaching its peak of 69.9 per cent in Bulgaria.

When children are not cared for exclusively by their parents, they may receive formal childcare, including school-based care as part of compulsory education.

About one third of children (35.3 per cent) in the EU were enrolled in formal childcare for at least one hour per week with 21.5 per cent in formal care for more than 30h per week and 13.8 per cent for less than 30h per week.

Among the EU Member States, Denmark with two-thirds (66.0 per cent) of children receiving at least an hour of formal childcare per week had the highest share, followed by the Netherlands (64.8 per cent), Luxembourg (60.0 per cent) and Spain (57.4 per cent).

At the other end of the scale, Czechia had the lowest share (6.3 per cent), followed by Slovakia (6.6 per cent), Poland (10.2 per cent), Romania (14.1 per cent) and Croatia (15.7 per cent).

Other types of childcare include care by a professional childminder or by grandparents, other household members (excluding parents), other relatives, friends or neighbours. Just over 7 per cent of children under the age of three in the EU were in this type of care for a minimum of 30 hours per week and an additional 18.7 per cent of children for less than 30h per week, for a total of 25.9 per cent.

The breakdown for Cyprus according to Eurostat was: Cared for only by their parents: 41.6 per cent; formal childcare – 6.1 per cent from 1 to 29 hours and 25 per cent 30 hours and over; and other types of childcare 13.8 per cent from one to 29 hours and 25.8 per cent 30 hours and over.