For parents who work full time, childcare may be a necessity. Some parents choose to employ a nanny, while others prefer to take their children to a daycare center. It is important to find a daycare that works for you and your child. Some factors to consider:
Budget: Your budget may help narrow down your choices. Take into account the number of hours and time to day you will need a sitter to determine your total costs.
Language: You may want to enroll your child in a foreign or bilingual daycare. Many schools, especially those with an international emphasis, employ dual or even tri-lingual staff and encourage the use of multiple languages.
Age of children: Daycare facilities often set an age range. Some schools require that children be potty-trained.
Location: This is often a deciding factor. The easier the commute, the happier the parent and child.
Services provided: Some facilities offer occasional care or partial care (i.e. 3 days a week or half day programs), while other facilities only offer full-time programs.
When choosing a care center, also inquire about staff turnover. Consistency in caregivers is a major benefit for your child.
Prices for childcare vary, but you can expect to pay around 2,000 kunas monthly for full-time care. Private daycares may charge more. The Learning Tree, an international daycare in Zagreb, for example, charges 3,500 kuna per month for full-time care.
Like many other services, the best way to find a good childcare facility is by word of mouth. You might meet local parents at the park, playground, or even on online forums, like EasyExpat' Croatia forum and networks. Expat-oriented clubs are also a great place to meet new people and get recommendations. Check with your embassy for recommendations on international clubs and groups. Once you've pinpointed a few daycare facilities, be sure to visit them to determine which one is the best fit.
There is a bilingual activity group organized by the Maksimir Center for Culture called Sticky Fingers (Ljepljivi prstici) for Croatian and English-speaking parents and their children. Sticky Fingers costs 30 kunas, which includes coffee for parents and juice and a snack for children, and it takes place every Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.
The Zagreb International Womens' Club also organizes a playgroup that meets every Thursday at 10:00 a.m.
Babysitters generally provide childcare for a short period of time, for example, while the parents enjoy a night out at dinner and a movie. Friends and family members often offer to babysit without payment, but typically, babysitting is a paid childcare service.
It's wise to select a babysitter who has had some prior experience working with children and who has taken a first aid course.
Prices for babysitting vary, but usually fall right around 25 kunas per hour.
Again, the best way to find a reliable babysitter is by word of mouth. Ask friends for recommendations, or contact your embassy or a local club for expats. The U.S. Embassy in Zagreb circulates a regular newsletter that often includes contact information for trusted babysitters and nannies.
For consistent babysitting, you may consider hiring an au pair. Consult the section on "Au Pair" under "Find a Job".