You are pregnant or moving and you register your child at the daycare center in the area, but there is often a waiting list.

What now?

Alternatives are "quite complicated", says Gjalt Jellesma, chairman of the Association of Parents in Childcare (BOinK).

"I would almost say: think about childcare if you fall in love."

Since the introduction of the Childcare Act in 2005, there have been waiting lists on popular Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in large parts of the country, according to Jellesma.

“Childcare has been hit hard by severe cuts in the past,” he recalls.

"As a result, students were advised not to opt for childcare because there was no work. We are now suffering from this: there is a great shortage of pedagogical staff."

Plans by political parties to offer childcare free of charge for several days cannot be realized just like that.

"Of course we want as many children as possible to be able to make use of childcare," says Emmeline Bijlsma, director of the Childcare Sector Organization (BK).

"But that is a long-winded story. With the current waiting lists, there is a real risk that working parents will no longer be able to get a place if childcare becomes free."

"In the center of Amsterdam, the waiting time for childcare can be up to two years."

Emmeline Bijlsma, director Branche organization Childcare (BK)

The lack of locations is also a problem, according to Bijlsma.

"Locations for childcare must be specifically indicated in zoning plans, but there is often little room for that. In fact, it is often forgotten."

In the center of Amsterdam, the waiting time for childcare can be up to two years, Bijlsma knows.

Figures from the national government show that the Netherlands has more than nine thousand daycare locations.

In the third quarter of 2020, 339,000 children went to day care.

The Netherlands sets strict requirements for childcare

If you can already find a suitable location, you also need qualified employees.

Bijlsma: "There are strict quality requirements for childcare in the Netherlands. And these are not there for nothing."

According to Jellesma, Dutch childcare is among the best in the world.

"We have fought hard for that. If you, as a country, do not opt ​​for long parental leave, then the quality of the childcare must be beyond any doubt.

The part-time nature of the use of childcare in the Netherlands makes it difficult, according to Jellesma, to create a suitable offer.

"Many Dutch parents choose to spend one day a week with their children. Most children go to childcare two or three days a week. But it is much easier to organize childcare when you know that all children have five. are days a week, as in primary education. "

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Register your children for other days or choose childminders

What are the options if there is no room at a daycare center?

Register your children on Wednesdays and Fridays, Bijlsma suggests.

"Even if you prefer a different day. Once you have a spot, you have more chance to move on to the popular days."

Looking around in another neighborhood can also help.

In addition, a childminder can be a good alternative.

Although you also have to act quickly, warns Jellesma.

"The number of childminders has been declining for years, so there is not always room there either."

Take the time to orient yourself, advises the chairman of BOinK.

"We always say: the best childcare in the Netherlands is childminder childcare, but the worst too. And where the GGD visits every daycare center every year, childminders are only checked sporadically. Have a good conversation and ask other parents about their experiences. also in advising. It is in any case important that you have a good feeling about a childminder. "

Another popular alternative is childcare within the family, with grandfather and grandmother in the lead.

That can be very nice, says Jellesma.

"A close bond develops between your parents and your children. But it can also be stressful. Your parents have certain views, you may have different ones. You have to make clear agreements about this in advance. Moreover, childcare is always more than just a babysitter. Pedagogical employees work. also to the development of children. You cannot always expect that from a grandfather or grandmother. "