A nanny is qualified to care for your child on a one-to-one basis in your own home, and can be a live-in or live-out nanny. Qualifications usually follow successful completion of a 2-3 year course. A Dutch nanny is called 'Leidster aan huis' and the easiest way to find one is through a local childcare agency. There are many women who describe themselves as nannies in classified sections but they are mostly full time babysitters with experience, ie lacking proper qualifications.
A child minder (gastouder or oppas) is usually a woman with children of her own who looks after your child in her own family home. In addition to any number of her own children she can look after up to 4 other children as a minder. Yes, really. If this form of childcare is organised through a child minding agency (gastouderburo) then the costs are tax-deductible and if you and your partner are working then each employer may contribute 1/6 of the cost.
A babysitter is usually a younger person who stays in your home while you have an evening out. As your children are asleep the babysitter will not usually need to interact with them, so experience is not usually absolutely necessary. It is very common here in Holland for your neighbours' older children to babysit. In case of emergency their parents are only a couple of doors away.
An au pair is a young person aged 18-24 who comes to live with your family for up to a year, and helps to look after your children. The au pair, according to the IND, is supposed to be here to experience Dutch culture and language so you must state in your application that you will provide this and finance a Dutch course. Some applicants need not apply for a visa, only a resident's permit. Either way the cost of these documents has risen sharply in the last few years so you need to consider this, along with au pair health insurance, travel expenses, additional household expenses, as well as the allowance of €300-€500 per month. Also bear in mind that there are restrictions on working hours per week which are usually suggested with good reason: these women are very young and often with no childcare experience.
Crèche / Kinderdagverblijf
Crèches employ fully qualified nursery staff and are usually open from around 07:30 to 18:00. They are able to offer professional care in a safe, supervised environment and your child has the opportunity to socialise with others his/her own age. They are able to look after babies as young as 3 months, right up to the moment that your child goes to school at the age of 4. The ratio of babies/children per staff member is 1:4 and they usually work in groups with 3 to 4 nursery staff. Groups are split according to age: 0-2 years and 2-4 years.
When you are going to check out a crèche for your child, think about the following:
The cost for this form of childcare varies according to the amount of time your child spends there per week, eg the more hours then the lower the rate. For a 3 day week the hourly rate is around €5.50. The costs are tax-deductible and if you and your partner are working then each employer may contribute 1/6 of the cost.
Out of School Care
Out of school care (buitenschoolse opvang) gives you the option of going to work without having to wait around for school opening and closing times. This kind of childcare is available for children from 4 years of age and they are usually open from 07:00 to 19:00. They offer varying services:
The costs for this form of childcare are tax-deductible and if you and your partner are working then each employer may contribute 1/6 of the cost.