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Family Life and Childcare for Expats in Germany

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: October 2013

Family lives in Germany have diversified with more and more people choosing to live in less traditional ways, for example over recent years there has been a rise of solo living.  

Traditionally a German family is a couple with two children, in the week the father would go to work and the children would attend school whilst the mother stayed at home and looked after the family. At the weekend or during school holidays they would meet friends or family, watch football matches or take short trips. Now it is more common for both parents to work once the children are old enough to go to school. 

Most families live in houses where as many young people are now choosing to live in apartments in larger cities, enjoying the facilities and leisure activities these cities can provide.

Childcare in Germany

Child care costs in Germany are quite high and because of this one parent, normally the mother, often chooses to stay at home or work part-time in order to look after the children. There are many types of childcare services in Germany such as babysitters, nannies, nursery schools or pre-schools with the choice of full day or half day child care. This allows the parents to have freedom to when and how many hours they will work.

In Germany, nursery schools normally admit children under three years old. Children learn through playing with others of the same age and they are supervised by trained early childhood educators. 

Pre-schools, or kindergartens, are for children between three and six years old and involve learning skills to help children prepare for study when they reach six years old, the age for compulsory schooling in Germany.

There is also a day care service called Kitas in Germany. Kitas provides after school services for children up to the age of 12. Sometimes, they may provide before school services as well. 

Nurseries and pre-schools are run by the government, churches, associations and private entities. The cost of such child care services vary depending on the parent’s income, the region and the length of services required. Some may offer free services while others may charge fees; typical fees are between 80 and 120 Euros per month. Parents may be eligible for tax credits for their child care expenses.   

It may take some time to find a nursery or pre-school which is suitable for your children. If you are moving to Germany with your children, make sure you research the child care services in the area you are planning to move to before you leave. Once you have arrived you may like to ask colleagues and neighbours for recommendations. You can also ask the local youth welfare offices of the municipal or local authorities for more information. Some nursery or pre-schools are very popular and you may need to wait for admission. Try to talk to a few nurseries or pre-schools in your region so you can get a better idea of the best choice. If you want to know more information about the child care services in Germany, you can read articles here https://www.make-it-in-germany.com/en/living-in-germany/family-reunification/child-care/ and here https://www.expatica.com/de/education/pre_school/Preschool-options-in-Germany_18248.html.



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