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Childcare options in Switzerland

Updated on November 15, 2023

The range of childcare options in Switzerland is very diverse and wide-ranging. Find out in this article which childcare options are available for your children and which one best suits your needs.

Play and toddler groups

In play and toddler groups, children from about 2.5 years old until they enter kindergarten meet once or several times a week for a maximum of half a day. The groups consist of about 8-10 children and the goal is to promote the development of the children into independent and socially responsible personalities through the educational medium of play, which is the central focus. In this way, play and toddler groups provide early childhood care, education and upbringing and enable the children to gain extensive experience before they enter kindergarten.

Daycare centers

In so-called daycare centers, toddlers and children from the age of 3 months until the end of school can be cared for from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. during the week. In contrast to playgroups and toddler groups, they are open at least 5 half days a week. The daily routines in the day care centers are structured, which is a good preparation for school time and also very beneficial for the development of the children. 

The term day care centers is a collective term. It includes the following facilities, among others:

  • Nurseries are particularly focused on infants and toddlers up to 3 years of age.
  • Daycare centers provide care for preschool-aged children from 3 to 6 years of age.
  • After-school care centers are complementary care facilities to kindergarten or school and are suitable for children from about 4 to 16 years of age. The offers range from part-day to full-day care.

Since daycare places are in extremely high demand in Switzerland, it is definitely worth registering your child in advance. Experts also recommend choosing a daycare center in your hometown, if possible. This way, your child will be in a familiar surrounding. In addition, you have a better chance of getting a place there, as this factor is also taken into consideration in the selection process. You can usually register your child by telephone or via an online form.

When calculating the costs, several factors are considered, such as arrival and pick-up times, which is why the prices vary. In addition, the childcare costs also depend on income, but on average a day at the daycare center costs about CHF 130.


Lunch is the name for a supervised lunchtime. The offer is aimed at children of kindergarten and school age and allows for care away from home between classes in the morning and afternoon. The advantage of lunch is that it often takes place in the kindergartens or schools, which means that the children are in a familiar atmosphere. Therefore, it is best to contact the kindergarten or school your child attends to register.

The costs of this offer vary and can range from CHF 8.- to CHF 30.- per noon. Among other things, the price also depends on whether the meal is prepared by the provider or ordered externally.

Nanny employment

Further, there is also the possibility of hiring a nanny. The main difference from the facilities mentioned above is that nannies look after your children in a private household. The nanny is responsible for the welfare and upbringing of the children and does minor household chores besides.

Although the nanny work market is not very regulated, it is important for you as an employer to hire the nanny correctly and pay her fairly. Keep in mind that, like any other employer, you must also pay salary contributions to the social insurances and, as the case may be, also take out accident insurance as well as an occupational pension plan.

The cost of a nanny depends on what hourly or monthly wage you pay out. The average gross hourly wage in Switzerland is between CHF 22.50 and 32.


Au pairs are young people who come to Switzerland from abroad, live with a host family and help out with the household and childcare. In return, they receive housing, board and an appropriate salary.

In order for au pairs to be admitted to Switzerland, they must meet certain requirements. These include, for example, age. In contrast to third-country nationals, au pairs from EU and EFTA countries are allowed to take up an au pair position before they reach the age of 17.

Host families can also only employ au pairs under certain conditions. For example, they must provide the au pairs with their own room and may only employ them for a maximum of 40 hours per week.


Are you a parent who has just moved to Switzerland and need help choosing the right childcare? We will be happy to assist you and help you find the right care for your child.

Evgeniy Timoshenko

Do you have any questions? Get in touch with me.

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