Expatriation often means a career break for the person following his/her partner… And now you’re setting off for new adventures in Paris, with an extra member of your family. Congratulations! In this article, we tell you everything about childcare solutions in Paris for toddlers under 3 years old. How can you find the ideal childcare system according to your needs?  French Touch is here to assist you with this guide! In France, you will definitely get the chance to benefit from grants or subsidies for your child’s care.  So it’s up to you to choose the system that best suits you.  Whatever type of care you choose, follow your instincts, trust is paramount. Your first choice will be to decide whether your child will be looked after at home or elsewhere.

Outside the home

The different types of nurseries

Nurseries are the best-known method of care. This is a collective structure that is appropriate and safe for toddlers.

The children are supervised by qualified and competent early childhood staff who offer them development activities and stimulate them according to their age.

Nappies and meals are usually provided.

Nurseries enable young children to socialise before going to nursery school. It’s also an opportunity for them to develop their immune system.

This type of care can be tiring for children, because the pace of the day is tailored to the group and not the individual.

As a parent, you sign a contract determining your child’s attendance schedule and you agree to respect the times of the nursery, which usually closes at 18:30 in the evenings and over the Christmas holidays and in August. Finally, the waiting lists are often long, particularly in the Paris region. Making inquiries about a place for your child at the beginning of the pregnancy isn’t as daft an idea as it sounds; in any case, places for the following year are allocated in June.

These day nurseries may be subsidised by your local town hall or your company. You will then have to pay the “parents” share, which depends on your family quotient determined by the CAF. This is usually about €500/month.

There are also parental nurseries in which parents are personally involved in the administrative management of the nursery or by occasionally preparing meals for example. It is often a little more expensive but there are fewer children, so the children are “pampered” more.

Finally, micro-nurseries, for their part, can welcome a maximum of 10 children. All together in a single section, regardless of their age. The staff supervise the child’s development at his/her own pace, often following the Montessori method.

NB: nursery places are subject to the child being up-to-date with his/her vaccinations. Make inquiries if you’re returning from a foreign country where vaccination programmes are different.

Daycare centres 

A daycare centre is an occasional childcare system for young children from 0 to 6 years old. This can range from a few hours to a few half days a week.

Everyone can use them. This is a very good solution for “landing” and balancing the personal and work life of the parents.

Daycare centres can be public or private.

The supervisory staff are trained in the field of early childhood (childcare assistants, recognised early childhood qualifications, etc.) They take care of the children by offering them activities that are appropriate for their age.

When a nursery offers a daycare centre, we call it a “multi-host” structure.

The price also depends on the family quotient. Some daycare centres may be free.

The childminder

This type of care is also widespread. The childminder is an approved professional. She can be responsible for up to 4 children. She will have received 120 hours of training and is monitored regularly by the PMI (Mother and Child Protection agency). Her home must also meet safety requirements, as she will be looking after your child at her home. This maintains a family domestic setting for your toddler, but with the domestic risks that this may entail (electric sockets, stairs, kitchen, etc.)

A childminder may be more attentive to the needs of each child. Indeed, she knows the children she is in charge of very well and can adapt to their minor injuries and organise the day at their pace. The times are also more flexible than at a nursery. She may occasionally take care of the bath and dinner if you arrive home too late. It is also noted that young children are sick less often with a childminder than at a nursery.

The child socialises smoothly with other children staying with childminder, but also through the afternoon games organised with other childminders.

As the parents, you become her employer and determine the conditions of the contract with her. You will need to manage her payslips, declare her salary on the Pajemploi website, manage her paid leave, her end-of-year bonus and her severance pay.

Don’t worry, there’s software to help you!

As your child will be at her house, it’s up to you to see if you have a good feeling about her. This is essential! Do you have the same views on food, screens, management of the house, etc.? A strong bond will be created between her and your child, but don’t worry, your child will still know who his/her parents are.

In terms of cost, it obviously depends on the number of hours requested, but also on the city, fees and the childminder herself.

As is the case with day nurseries, you can get help from the state (the CMG – “Method of Care Supplement”) and/or a tax credit of 25% on the amount paid. (up to €1,150)

At home

At home, unlike at nurseries, meals and nappies are to be provided by the parents, according to their requirements.

The nanny

A nanny is a home-based employee. She looks after your child at your house. As an employer, you hire her based on criteria that are important to you: Will she be able to take care of your child and your home if you’re away? Does she have any qualifications in this area? Does she have any experience? Does she speak a foreign language?  A nanny has the advantage of looking after your child even if he/she is sick and adapting exactly to his/her pace. She can also look after older children after school and help you with housework. For the child, the social interactions are more limited than in a community, but he/she is less likely to catch germs from his/her friends. With regard to rates, there must be the equivalent of a minimum wage + compensation in kind (food, transport, etc.). You can pay her by employment service cheque and thus deduct up to 50% of the amounts paid from your taxes (up to €12,000/ year, or €6,000 of tax benefit). The CAF can also help you, depending on your income, to pay up to 85% of her salary.

Shared care

 It’s exactly the same principle, but the nanny alternately looks after your child one week at your home with another child, and the next week at the other family’s home. (It is possible to agree for the care to take place only in one family).

The nanny’s salary is then shared between the two families. This often allows children of the same age to forge strong bonds. Remember, however, that everything must be planned double: meals, bed, double pushchair, etc. It’s important to choose your nanny and your co-family wisely, because you’re making a commitment until the end of the contract.

The same constraints of employer status apply to the parents. The salary of a home-based employee is, in general, a little higher than that of a childminder, but thanks to assistance such as CMG and tax credits, it might work out cheaper for you.

When the children are older, and if your housing allows, it might be worth thinking about employing a “trainee foreign caregiver” or “au-pair”.  Aupairs are young foreign students who, in return for babysitting, receive payment in kind (housing, meals, etc.), and an amount of spending money.

Finally, you should be aware that for parents who wish to look after their child themselves, there is support from the CAF: the supplement for free choice of activity, which can be up to €638 a month. There are also other aids, such as the Paris Petit à Domicile allowance (PAPADO), which can provide between €105 and €420 in assistance per month (under certain conditions).

Don’t hesitate to consult the CAF website at www.mon-enfant.fr or http://www.caf.fr/allocataires/droits-et-prestations/s-informer-sur-les-aides/petite-enfance/