Practical Life in Mexico City


Childcare, Babysitting in Mexico City


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Childcare often falls to family members or close friends in family-oriented Mexico. People are much less likely to trust their children to people they are not personally familiar with. That said, Mexico City is large and cosmopolitan with people from all over the world and their are multiple facilities and styles in which children are attended to.

Day Care

Day Care facilities are less common in Mexico then it is in neighboring USA. Children are often attended by family members and friends. Another popular option is to hire attendants for house-cleaning and childcare. Mexico's wages are very low and even middle-class households can often afford staff.

If you would prefer a day care facility, search for a "guarderia", which is Spanish for "child care facility". There is little overarching regulation form the government and most facilities operate by their own rules and with their own programs. This presents advantages and disadvantages to each center. In general,
Small facilities will provide a more intimate and personalized environment. However, it could be possible that children from different age groups be kept together most of the time, thus leaving little space for age-appropriate activities for your child. Children could be left in an informal environment with few more activities then watching television.
Larger facilities have more children and usually a variety of programs. Children are kept with other children their age and their is more regulation by the state government.

Facilities range widely in price. Smaller facilities usually cost less, but not always. Average price is about $1500 pesos, or $150 USD per week for full 5-day care. It ultimately depends on your best judgment. Examine the facilities and make an educated decision.

If you are interested in hiring domestic employees, check with the people who lived there before you and see if they can recommend anyone. Be sure to check with the Newcomers Club of Mexico City for recommendations. Check references and see what child care experience they have. Once you have found some candidates, start on a "try-out" agreement -usually verbal- for a limited period of time, in which you and your employee will see if they feel comfortable with each other (1-2 months). After that period, if everything goes well, you can offer a small salary increment to show your appreciation. If any or both parties are not happy after the "try-out", the working relationship can then be terminated without much hassle.

There are also creative classes in which young children will be cared for and be able to do something fun. For example:
La Pincelada - Ceramikids. They offer ceramic paintings for kids 3 years up. Classes are Mo -Fri 11am - 3pm, Sa 11am - 7pm. For 20 pesos you can leave your child there for the whole opening hour. They do have to be potty trained. Tel: + 52 (55) 5290 9355

There are also a number of activities in which whole families will join and children can be taken care. Children can exercise, socialize, and learn and practice a new sport/activity.

Pre-school

Pre-School programs are often held at public elementary schools. They provide childcare while beginning to educate. Different programs may operate in half day periods or full day care. Basic Education comprises preschool, primary school, and lower secondary school. Preschool covers children aged three through five and is generally provided in three grades. Pre-school is free at public schools, but not compulsory. All of the schools mentioned above offer primary, junior high and senior high school education, and most of them offer kindergarten and pre-school education as well. However, there are other options when it comes to pre-school and kindergarten, as there are schools which only specialize in this level of education. Generally schooling in Mexico starts at age three or four.

Babysitting

Babysitting is usually done by family, a neighbor, or a family friend in family-oriented Latin homes. Family is often expected to watch children for free, and babysitters are often paid less than professional care. Young women, often in high school or college, may offer their services on-line service sites like craigslist, http://mexico-missouri.olx.com/babysitter-cat-372, or community boards. Hotel chains will often offer childcare for visitors of the hotel. Prices and skill levels vary greatly along with prices, but it is best to hire someone with some CPR skills and references. Prices very greatly, but should average around $22 pesos an hour per child.

Update 7/09/2008



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