The Dutch daycare in a nutshell

I was recently introduced to the new world of Dutch day care (kinderdagverlbijf or crèche). Here’s how it sounded (to an expat mom like) me.

Getting in
How nice you’re working, and full time too. You want to put your child in our day care?! Sure, get in line. We have a long waiting list but we couldn’t tell you how long. We also don’t answer emails. You have to call. But we don’t pick up the telephone either. Too busy.

You might want to register your child as soon as she’s born so you have a good chance of getting a place when she turns 1.

And while you’re at it, get your finances in order. You have a decent salary? Prepare to fork out at least €250/month (from your own pocket) for two days a week of day care.

Orientation
Here are our rules. You either accept it or not. Please sign here. Exceptions? The director must approve it first.

By the way, you have to pay the fee one month in advance. You also have to pay for the days that she is not here for example holidays, when she is sick, free days. No we don’t offer alternatives. You pay for one year even if you don’t use it.

Adjustment period
Your child gets two days of adjustment period. The first day for  3 hours, the second day for 4 hours. Then we start with the regular schedule, 10 hours/day   between 8am-6pm.

You want to bring her earlier or pick her up later? Please pay additional hourly fee.

Food
Here we eat fruit for morning snacks, bread for lunch, bread sticks for afternoon snacks and some warm food at around 4pm.  Your kid eats rice (*shocked) for lunch? Sorry we eat bread here. She’ll eat bread like everyone else.

We don’t give them milk in baby bottles anymore. Have her drink from a sippy cup.

No sugary food? Ah but we don’t give kids sugary products here *slather a dollop of fruit jam on a bread.

Sleeping
Kids younger than one year old MUST nap at 10am and 12noon. Older kids at 12noon only. Your kid naps at 10am? I have to get approval from the director if she can join the babies.

What?? She needs to be carried to fall asleep? That’s not how it works here. At nap time, she walks to her box and shuts her eye. She can’t sleep? That’s her problem? She cries? Well she can cry herself to sleep.

No there’s no time for cuddles! Everyone’s busy.

Expat mom (emotional and a little perplexed) to husband: It’s outrageous
Dutch dad: Shrugs shoulders, “she’ll get used to it”, turns around to go to sleep.

This story didn’t end well.

P.S. This blog post is a mix of exaggerated reality and humour with sprinkles of satire,  sarcasm and a lot of female hormones. Read at your own risk, especially if you’re Dutch. This post is only to be taken  (a bit) seriously by expat moms like me.

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