As an expat mum in a foreign country, you probably do not have the option of relying on your parents – the child’s grandparents to babysit, as the locals do. There are a few other options, although the services/market in this area is still not quite well developed. You can opt for an established agency or come to an agreement with a private childminder.
It also largely depends on whether you need just a few hours occasionally to run some errands or have some precious time off with friends, or if you’re planning to go back to work and want your child looked after long term, on a daily basis.
Babysitting agencies have the advantage of reliability, as they will find a replacement if your regular babysitter is ill or unavailable, they check their staff’s background and experience and are insured. They will of course be more expensive than freelancers.
You can for example try the following:
If you decide to find a private babysitter on your own, the best option is by referral from another mum – just go ahead and ask a question in one of the mothers’ FB groups.
Most local babysitters are university students who don’t have a problem speaking English. If you’re not sure that English is the way to go with your child, you can try and post an ad at the respective language departments of Masaryk University (Faculty of Education, Faculty of Arts) where students may speak your native tongue. Sometimes there are also Erasmus / foreign students from abroad who offer to babysit.
Nurseries / kindergartens
Once your child is at least 6 months / 1 year / 1,5 years old, there are various group establishments that can take care of your baby long term, on a daily basis or a few days per week.
The traditional Czech public nursery is called jesle and there used to be hundreds of them around when most Czech women had to work very soon after giving birth a few decades ago. However, the situation is very different now and most local mums choose to stay at home with their children for 3 years of their parental leave thanks to the parental benefit they receive and only then look for a kindergarten. Due to this, public-run jesle have all but disappeared and at the moment there are only a few places in all of Brno. They are mostly accessible to single parents / shift-working / low income parents. In general, if a child is younger than 2, they will only accept him/her for max 46 hours / month as the law stipulates. (Full day / full week care is only possible for children older than 2.) The price depends on the parents’ salary.
If you choose to return to work before your child’s 3rd birthday, it is very unlikely you would find a place in your local public kindergarten. However, a simple Google search will show you plenty of places throughout the city, because by now there are lots of private childcare facilities which look after children from a very early age. They differ in price and services but all fulfil the basic need of taking care of your child during the day and the number of hours per week is not limited. For further info on this, please refer to our guide on Schools.
And what about the holidays, when kindergartens and schools are closed?
If you still must go to work during these times, you can ideally enroll your kids in day camps or summer camps offered by many local leisure centres. More info in our detailed guide here (coming soon).