Childcare in Berlin Whilst Waiting for a Kita Spot

Childcare in Berlin

Childcare in Berlin is hot topic amongst families with children aged three to six.  ‘Kita’, short for Kindertagestätte, is the German form of daycare or nursery school.  While the German system is one of the best in the world for subsidizing public childcare and Kita costs, there are not enough Kitas in Berlin to accommodate every child under the age of six.  This means that finding a Kita spot and childcare in Berlin can create a frustrating situation.   Kita enrollment is not mandatory, but the increase in dual-working-parent homes means that application numbers grow every year.    Kitas are commonly reserved for children ages three to six, but many will have a nursery included and will take children under three.

The first step in process is to apply for your Kita Gutschein at your local Jugendamt.  Once you receive the Gutschein, you are free to apply to the Kita of your choice.  Unfortunately, there is a good chance that you may have to wait for admission into your chosen Kita.  There are, however, options for childcare in Berlin while you wait for a Kita spot, and we have highlighted some of the best choices below.

Tagesmutter

An option for full-time childcare for children under three years is to send them to a Tagesmutter. The word ‘Tagesmutter’ translates directly to ‘day mother’ and is a woman (or a man, ‘Tagesvater’) who looks after your child in the daytime while you work.  The differences between a Tagesmutter and a Kita are location, size and child capacity. In a Kita group, you can have anywhere between 16 and 26 children between the ages of three and six.  A Tagesmutter will accept anywhere between two and eight children at a time, and the childcare takes place at the Tagesmutter’s house.  The challenges for this situation is that you still need to apply for the Gutschein, and, unfortunately, Tagesmutter spots are also limited.

childcare in Berlin

Nanny or Au Pair

As with other large cities, it is possible to find babysitters, nannies and au pairs to supplement your childcare needs.  Babysitters and nannies will often charge by the hour and can get quite expensive.  However, a live-in au pair often turns out to be cheaper in the long run if you have the space to accommodate them.  A live-in au pair cares for your children at specific times, often up to 30 hours per week. Rather than an hourly or daily fee, they will often subsidize their monthly fee in return for living in your house rent-free and having access to other household extras (like WIFI and food). There may be cases where an allowance is also factored into the arrangement. These scenarios work out wonderfully for families who are open to sharing their home with another person, and it is a great option for those parents going back to full-time work but are still waiting for their Kita spot.

We have listed some agencies below that focus on nanny, au pair and babysitter searches for families in Berlin:

Extra Arms

Great Au Pair 

Mary Poppins

With our Baby

Additionally, Simply Private Staff, located in the UK, also offers luxury nanny services to families worldwide.

Co-Working with Childcare

If you are a freelancer, you might be interested in a growing business model based on co-working and childcare in Berlin.  The concept is that you pay for workspace while your little one spends time in the on-site daycare.

The following are some options for co-working spaces with childcare in Berlin:

Co Working Toddler 

Juggle Hub 

Le Box 

Playgroups and Activities

Not only for those parents getting back into work, playgroups and children’s classes are a great way for your child to interact and make friends with other children whilst you wait for a Kita spot.

Little Art is a creativity lab for children and adults.  In the child-led classes,  you are encouraged to participate in creative art explorations of all sorts.  Little Art provides classes for children ages 18 months to 12 years, and the studio is in Prenzlauer Berg.

In addition to being a fabulous bookstore stocking books for children and teens, Krumulus in Bergmannkiez offers music classes for children 1 to 6 years and weekly readings for different age groups.  There is even a printing workshop that also offers classes for groups of children, enabling mom and dad to read in peace.

Your local community centre is likely to have a Krabbelgroupe (crawling group) to join.  Mitmach Republik  is a site where you can do a keyword search for groups in your area.

Another useful source for playgroups is meetup.com. Meetup has a lot of English-speaking parent and baby-themed groups, like Berlin Kids or Baby Babble. 

Join a Support Group

Finding a Kita spot in a foreign country can be daunting, so the best way to get through the process it is to talk to others in the same situation.  Seek help when you need it, either online or in person.

Here are some other Facebook groups that might be helpful:

Mums, Dads, and Bumps Berlin 2018

ExpatBabies Berlin

ExpatKids Berlin

childcare in Berlin

Other Options

Wunderhaus– Wunderhaus, in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, is a lifestyle and social club for young families.  In addition to a very stylish playroom staffed by caregivers, there are classes, like ballet and music, offered for your children and Barre and parenting classes available for the adult members.  Additionally, you can have a healthy lunch in the cafe or a pedicure in the spa all while your child happily plays supervised with the other children.

At all three IKEA stores in Berlin (Spandau, Tempelhof, and Marzahn), you can drop your child at the play centre, SMALAND, whilst you head around the display and warehouse. You can even utilize the play centre if you just want to sit in the café and eat Swedish meatballs.  It’s free, but there is a one-hour time limit.

At selected Möbel Kraft Stores (Bad Segeberg, Buchholz, Berlin, and Vogelsdorf) you are also able to drop the kids at the play centre, Kinderland.

Need a break to work out? Head to one of the many gyms in Berlin that offer daycare whilst you work out or take a class. All of the gyms below offer daycare at either one or all of their Berlin locations. Times and ages range at each location, so please contact them before you go.

Elixia

Aspria

Fitness First

Green Gym Berlin

Whilst finding a Kita spot can prove to be a tough process, there are many options for childcare in Berlin before you receive admission.  As always, Archer Relocation is  available to advise you on any process related to settling into your Berlin lifestyle.

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Archer Relocation has been providing relocation services to families, individuals and companies in Berlin since early 2015.  Managing Director, Emily Archer, founded the company desiring to use her first-hand experience as an expat to make the relocation process as smooth as possible for others moving to Berlin.  Read other useful information about moving to and living in Berlin, such as ‘How to Find a Berlin Apartment’, on our Berlin Blog.  

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