You may not want to hear this, but there comes a time when your maternity leave is coming to an end and you need childcare for your little one. Maybe you are already sighing at the thought of adding childcare to your endless to-do list. However, it is important to arrange this in time because the waiting lists for childcare can sometimes be very long. So, take care of it now and don't regret it later. In this blog post, you will find everything you need to know about childcare!
Types of childcare
Perhaps the grandmothers have already indicated that they are only too happy to babysit and spend quality time with their grandchild. If no family is available to look after your little one, but you do value childcare in a homely atmosphere with personal attention for your child, then you might want to consider guest house care. Then you might want to choose guest parenting, which is a small-scale form of childcare that takes place in your home or the home of the host parent.
Another common form of childcare is daycare. Most of us have a general understanding of what daycare entails, but perhaps quite a few more specific questions remain unanswered. Since the daycare center is the most commonly used form of childcare, this blog post will answer the questions of what exactly a daycare center is, what the group divisions of a daycare center are, and what the costs are (last but definitely not least!).
What is a daycare center?
A day-care center or crèche is a form of childcare for children aged 0 to 4 years provided by pedagogical staff. Are you a parent and do you work or study on the side? Then you, or rather your child, can make use of this form of childcare. Your child will then follow the example of many other children in the Netherlands, as most children up to 4 years of age are cared for in a child daycare center, and then embark on the adventure that is called elementary school. Another new level of life unlocked ;)
You might also wonder what a day at the nursery looks like before you decide whether this is the right form of childcare for your child. After all, you want the best of the best for your child. It will probably come as no surprise to you that the content of the daycare center can vary enormously. One thing is certain: the activities are social, varied, and educational, and therefore all contribute to the development of your child. And last but not least: the activities are fun. Dressing up as a pink princess and dancing with the prince charming, or practicing for parenthood by dressing up dolls and putting them to bed? Chances are your child will do the same at the daycare center! The following activities are offered at many daycare centers:
- Get creative: clay, paint, crafts, and chalk
- Dressing up and using your imagination to the fullest
- Singing songs and swinging to the music
- Building with blocks, Lego, or Playmobil
- Playing with dolls (and thus already preparing for parenthood)
- Laying floor puzzles
- Eating and drinking snacks
- Moving games
- Outdoor games
- Reading books
- And of course...a nap in the afternoon! Because being small is tiring ;)
What are the group size and group arrangements of the daycare center?
An important question about the nursery is the group size and the group division. After all, you want to make sure that your child receives sufficient attention. There are so-called horizontal and vertical groups. What do horizontal and vertical groups have to do with this? Age! Horizontal groups simply mean that your child will be in a group with peers. There are baby groups, consisting of a maximum of 14 babies (*smelt*) and 3 pedagogical staff members. These babies have an age between 0 and 2 years.
There are also toddler groups, consisting of a maximum of 16 toddlers aged between 2 and 4 years and 2 pedagogical staff members. Many parents like these horizontal groups because the babies and toddlers in these groups are at more or less the same stage of their development and so there is no mental overload from the older children to the younger ones.
Vertical groups consist of a maximum of 16 children of different ages between 0 and 4 years. The number of pedagogical staff members assigned to these groups depends on the number of children and their age. The advantage of vertical groups, which may seem a disadvantage at first, is the age difference: younger children can learn a lot from older children, which is good for their social-emotional development. Also, older children learn to be considerate of younger children. So both types of groups have their advantages, right?
What are the costs of a daycare center?
You may have guessed it, but this question cannot be answered unequivocally. This is because each daycare center determines its own hourly rate. What factors play a role in determining this hourly rate? The services offered, the size of the daycare center, the city or region where the daycare center is located and the size of the demand for childcare are determining factors.
It is worth noting, however, that the central government sets a maximum hourly rate, which is €8.50 per hour in 2022. Depending on the number of hours your child attends daycare, this could be a large total amount. But good news: a large part of the cost of childcare is likely to be reimbursed to you through the childcare allowance (hallelujah, because life is expensive enough). Are you working or studying, are you taking an integration course or are you following a pathway to work? Then you are eligible for childcare benefits.
Tips for choosing a daycare center
Do you find it difficult to choose a suitable day-care center? That is not surprising, since you have so much on your plate at the moment and there is so much choice in the world of daycare centers. To help you make this important choice, we will give you some golden tips on choosing a suitable daycare center!
First of all, it's good to know that as a parent you can choose which daycare center will take care of your child. To save you some time searching, the municipality (GGD) registers and checks nurseries. But, as you may have guessed, it is still important to check the nursery you have in mind yourself to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Save yourself a lot of worries, and screen the daycare center well to verify that they offer professional and quality childcare. You can do this for example by looking at reviews from parents with a child that goes to this particular daycare center.
In addition, you want the daycare center's pedagogical policy to match the way you raise your child. Because nothing is more annoying than having them deal with your child in a completely different way at the daycare center. It is therefore a good idea to study the nursery's pedagogical policy, which explains the nursery's vision. For example, it explains how the pedagogical staff will make sure your child feels comfortable and what you can expect from a day at the nursery.
It is also important that you have a good rapport with the pedagogical staff at the daycare center. After all, they will spend a lot of time with your child and will be there for him or her in times of a smile, but also in times of a tear. You will also have regular contact with them, as they will discuss with you how your child's development is progressing, for example, what his or her strengths are and which aspects still need to be worked on. Then of course it is great if you can get along well and understand each other.
Do you now feel mentally prepared to arrange your childcare, and are you in the second or third month of your pregnancy? Let's get to it!