If you are moving to Berlin with your children, finding the right childcare or babysitting service in Germany is very likely one of your main concerns, especially if you are relocating for work purposes. Who do you trust enough to leave your children with, while you are away? This can definitely be nerve wrecking at first, however, on the bright side, there are various options for professional childcare and babysitting services in Berlin.
In order to make it easier for parents moving to Berlin with their children, in this article, we will explain the difference between opting for babysitting service or sending your child to childcare centre. Furthermore, we introduce some companies that we and many other parents recommend.
Babysitting Services in Berlin – Long & Short term
When it comes to babysitting in Germany, you can opt for a short-term babysitter, which mainly covers you occasionally for example, a single night or appointments. You simply have to check your and the babysitter’s availability, however, it is recommended that you use the same one as often as possible. When it comes to long term babysitters, they are usually renowned as nannies. Nannies take care of your children for a much longer period and will eventually become a part of your family.
Below are two recommended babysitting services in Berlin
A small, family run business that is highly dedicated to connecting professional nannies and babysitters to families in Berlin. The owner, Giulia, started working as a babysitter since she was just 14 years old. Through her many years of experience, she understands exactly the specific requirements and needs from both the parents and children to find the ideal babysitter. Nowadays she is leading Extra Arms to ensure families in need can find a reliable babysitter to take care of their children.
To ensure that no child will be left unattended, Extra Arms conduct interviews to nannies every week, where applicants have a 90-minute interview while proving that they have the right skill-set, paperwork and experience.
When it comes to the families seeking the service, Extra Arms holds a ‘Family Consulation’, in which the family states its needs and wants. Extra Arms will then find the most suitable babysitter for that particular family.
Felicity Nannies was established in 2004, by Mirja Lindberg. In her previous years, Mirja worked as an Au-pair in the UK and in Germany, she was a working mother herself. This led her to truly understanding the challenges and issues revolving around finding a reliable babysitter in Berlin.
Felicity Nannies is an agency with the objective to connect international families with highly dedicated and qualified nannies to look after their children. The nannies at Felicity Nannies have to have attended at least 1-year college or university training and have sufficient knowledge on child development and psychology. Furthermore, nannies undergo practical courses, training and placements that allow them to professionally care for your young one from day one.
For those with new-born babies, Felicity Nannies also provides the possibility to hire experienced maternity nurses, to help the families adapt and ease their first weeks with the baby. For older children, Felicity Nannies also offer the possibility of opting for a fully trained governess, that focuses on academic teaching in combination with the emotional and physical requirements.
Childcare Centers in Berlin
Your budget and location play a major role on the choice of childcare. In Berlin, depending on the previous year’s salary, parents receive financial support from the Government. In order to be received, the parents have to live in Berlin (or any other city in Germany) for more than six months, which will entitle them to an average monthly payment of 184 Euro per child, under 18 years of age.
You can apply for the grant via Bundesagentur für Arbeit.
In some cases, some expat parents may be able to receive lower income taxes and a monthly allowance, if the parent needs to give up working hours to care for their child. See if you are eligible at the local family ministry office in Berlin.
Cost Of Childcare In Berlin
When looking for childcare services in Berlin, it is reassuring to discover that childcare centers in Berlin, are very affordably priced. Depending on how many days a week you wish for your child or children to attend, each child costs between 150-300 Euros, a month. If your family is on a lower income, there are subsidized options available to help with the cost of paying for childcare services in Berlin. Although this can depend on what region you are in, the allowance is generally calculated by taking into consideration, the total amount of household income and the number of hours that childcare is needed. Prices will also vary between individual nurseries and childcare centers, but do expect to pay more for longer hours or if your child will be eating meals there too. Some institutes also offer after-hours care options, but these too come at an additional cost.
The Kitagutschein (Day Care Voucher)
Daycare vouchers, or Kitagutschein, are also available to assist parents seeking childcare services in Berlin. These vouchers can mean that in some cases the childcare becomes almost, for free in Berlin. Your Kitagutschein voucher will effectively allow your chosen Kita to know how much money they will be receiving in order to offer your child a place. In order to claim your Kitagutschein voucher, applications must apply two to nine months prior to the date you wish your child to commence with their care. Do not be surprised if your Kita asks for your Kitagutschein voucher before your child’s name is even eligible to be added to their waiting list. However, some Kita’s are more flexible and appreciate that it may take parents up to 9 months to obtain the voucher.
Any benefits you receive when it comes to your childcare services in Berlin will generally be done through the Jugendamt (Youth Welfare Office), not the childcare directly.
Very young children of three years old and younger will usually receive somewhere between six, eight, ten, or even up to twelve hours. Older children from three years old upwards are still entitled to this many hours, but may also be eligible for four hours of Kindergarten too. If your child is aged six or more, you could still be entitled to two, three, five, or seven hours of care, in addition to the time they spend at school.
The Application Process for Day Care Voucher
To apply for your daycare voucher, as part of childcare services in Berlin, the Abteilung Kindertagesbetreuung, or department of daycare, along with the Jugendamt, is where you will need to go to make your application. These are both useful institutions to visit if you are having any family issues, not just those surrounding childcare services in Berlin. To apply, visit your local Jugendamt two to six months before you wish your child to start daycare. Later applications are not accepted, except in very special circumstances.
As part of your application, you will be required to provide:
- Proof of income, along with a confirmation letter from your employer
- If you are from a different country, you may be required to learn German or integration course. Expect the Jugendamt to request a copy of your enrolment certificate
- Passport for both parents and any children requiring childcare services in Berlin
- Your marriage license, if this is applicable to your family
- The child’s birth certificate of any child wishing to attend Kita
- All Registration documents
- Your previous year’s tax statement. You will need to provide one for both parents. If your tax statement is not in German, you may need this to be translated and certified to show proof of earning
- The completed application paperwork required
If in doubt, take all paperwork along you think might be relevant. Most of the Jugendamt and their contacts will most likely speak the German Language, so it is important you prepare yourself for this and try to begin your language study well before this meeting.
You are welcome to bring a friend or colleague to help for translation purposes. Try and visit local day care centers in your area, especially as the voucher you receive will only be valid after the issue for six weeks maximum. Once your daycare voucher has been issued, you are then, free to reserve your child’s place at the Kita of your choice, or even proceed to sign the contract.
The eligibility date for your child to start their childcare will be clearly printed on your voucher. This is also the latest date you will be able to sign the childcare contract to confirm your child’s place.
List Of Recommended Childcare Centres In Berlin
TWSD Daycare center
The twsd in BB gGmbH recently opened three new daycare centers in the districts of Lichtenberg and Wedding. The centers are fully equipped with spacious and modern classrooms and outdoor play areas for the children to enjoy. They follow the Berlin education program and accept children from many different cultures, languages, talents, and requirements.
Their 3 Daycare centers are;
Daycare ‘Matt Lamb’ in Lichtenberg, Berlin
Matt Lamb childcare center offers its services for children from the age of 0 until school entry. Some of their services include the use of all function rooms, musical education, arts, and excursions.
Daycare ‘Little Grebe’ in Lichtenberg, Berlin
Welcoming children from all over the world! They offer a number of services for children between 1 year old and the age of 6. Little Grebe is home to a harmonious ambiance where children can grow, develop, experience, and prosper.
Daycare ‘Knirpsmaus’ in Wedding, Berlin
Located in Wedding, Knirpsmaus, accepts children aged between 1 and school entry. Here, the children can grow in an ambiance with children and adults, with the opportunity to develop their personality while receiving individual support.
Working Alongside Your Child As A Freelancer
If you already work as a freelancer in Berlin, you may be open to exploring opportunities as part of the childcare services in Berlin, which allows parents to sometimes work alongside their children. In these instances, all you need to do is cover the cost of your workspace, and while you are working, your child is entitled to a place at the integrated daycare on-site.
Co-working spaces currently offering childcare services in Berlin include:
Tips to Consider When Searching for a Childcare in Berlin
Class Sizes And Groups
When it comes to choosing your childcare center, don’t forget to find out the size of your child’s perspective group as class sizes can vary. Some sizes also change as children move up a year, whilst others will remain the same. Childcare centers in Berlin will usually have mixed classes and groups with children of various ages, so make sure to find this out before confirming your child’s place.
Time at the Childcare
The opening hours of childcare centers in Berlin vary from one childcare service to the other, so it is important to ask for their opening hours before reserving your child’s place. You have to ensure that this goes in line with your work and schedule.
Number of Carers Per Child
The number of carers available per child will also vary in each childcare, so this is another important question to ask. As children get older, this number may change.
Playground Accessibility And Other Outdoor Spaces
Some Kita’s will have their own onsite playground, whilst others, in more urban areas, may not. Those without their own private playground will often still make use of local outdoor spaces and playgrounds, so it is wise to consider, when selecting your child’s childcare center in Berlin, as well as how many hours a day your child will be able to spend outside.
Each Kita will vary in the facilities they are able to offer your child. Some may provide meals at lunchtime, whilst others may need you to bring in your own food for your child to eat in the morning and snack on during the day. Those who offer organic meal choices will normally charge a supplement cost, and there are usually different dietary options too, but it is good to check these first before selecting your child’s Kita place.
Your Kita Contract
To confirm your child’s place, every Kita will need you to sign a contract. They will also require a copy of your Kitagutschein (Day Care Voucher). Extracurricular activities, including language classes, are usually offered but in addition to the daily rate of your child’s place. However, your Kita will be able to answer any questions you may have directly.
Preparing Your Child For Kita
Before starting at the childcare center in Berlin, your child will first go through an induction process. This is called Eingewohnung and usually lasts between a fortnight to five weeks in total. The idea is that you can allow your child to adapt to attending day care gradually. You can stay with them at first, then as they get more comfortable, allow them to spend longer periods at childcare without a parent present. Once they are fully settled, you will not need to attend with them at all. However, as this process does take a few weeks, it is a good idea to leave the weeks of Eingewohnung free prior to the Kita start date and whenever you are wishing to return to work.