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Old 26.03.2012, 22:45
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Working mother of three needs tips

Very shortly I'll be moving to Zurich to a full-time job. The plan is to go there on my own for a few weeks till I sass out the place and as soon as I find accommodation, the rest of the family will follow. I have a 3 year old girl and 17 months old twin boys. I'm really confused as to the best childcare options/ best area - with plenty of nurseries -to set up home so we're near nature but not too far from the city, etc. I don't intend the kids to go to the international schools as we plan to integrate asap. So maybe a bilingual nursery would be ideal. Any tips, suggestions, ideas are very welcome. Also any advice you can offer for the actual move would be very appreciated. I'm a bit daunted to say the least.
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Old 27.03.2012, 01:12
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

Given that for three kids, you can expect a nursery bill in the region of CHF 7'000 per month unless they get a subsidised places (for which there are long waiting lists and which are certainly not bilingual), I suggest your spouse looks after the kids until they are in preschool (Kindergarten) at age 4.
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Old 27.03.2012, 01:29
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

I think you will need to do a lot of searching. Plenty of nurseries might be impossible to find, bilingual and near to nature limits you even more. Zurich is not really working-Mum-friendly and with three toddlers without a lot of support and understanding neighbours you will find it difficult.
I'm sorry to sound negative as you may have found the job of your dreams but getting the rest to fall into place is not impossible but needs hours of frustration.
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Old 27.03.2012, 03:05
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

The best advice I can give is for your wife to start her own nursery. With just 3 customers she can make a tidy sum.
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Old 27.03.2012, 08:10
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

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The best advice I can give is for your wife to start her own nursery. With just 3 customers she can make a tidy sum.
it's the wife who's working, I believe, based on thread title...
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Old 27.03.2012, 08:48
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

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it's the wife who's working, I believe, based on thread title...
Well, from the title I think we can presume that the poster is a female. However, I can't see anything about there being any partner, so I am presuming that we are communicating with a mother and three children, for now.
Noraki, best of luck with this move.
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Old 27.03.2012, 10:14
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

I did forget to mention about my partner - yes there is one. He is looking for a job, so hopefully we'll both be working and the kids will need to be cared of.

Thanks for the suggestion regarding opening up my own nursery... I did toy with the idea but then I put a stop to it after thinking of all the Swiss regulations I will have to comply to.
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Old 27.03.2012, 12:05
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

With 3 kids it would be most economical to hire a full time nanny if both parents are working.
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Old 27.03.2012, 12:53
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

Hi!

Congratulations on finding a job, and a partner who is obviously supportive! I've got a good partner too, and you'll be fine (though it will be tough at first!).

First, a nanny is not necessarily more economical, at least in Zurich city. If you choose a non-private Kinderkrippe, you can have a lot of help in the form of subsidies from the city (not the canton of Zurich, this applies to the city only and you just live here, not just work here). See here for a PDF in English that explains your costs:

http://www.kihz.ethz.ch/docs/elternbeitragsreglement_EN

As you'll see, unless you're making a whole ton o money, you won't be paying anything near 7000 CHF. In fact, for a very good job (low six figures), you'll be in the range of 3000-4000 per month.

There are also more childcare facilities in the city than in surrounding towns, so I'd definitely try to stay in the city. Family friendly places that aren't too far from the green include Affoltern and Oerlikon (but, they're ugly. I live in Oerlikon). There are at least 4 Krippes within walking distance of my house (though I use the one that is at work, since both me and my husband work full time). I agree with a previous poster that most will not be bilingual, but if your children understand English, it will not be a problem. Also, if you intend to integrate, then a German-speaking day care is better anyway, especially for your daughter, who will have less time to learn before Kindergarten.

One thought-is there any way you can ask your employer to help with the childcare? Some larger work places, like the ETH and ABB, run their own childcare facilities and have long waiting lists-which can be bypassed if the employer wants you badly enough.

Finally, even if you can't get spots for all three immediately, it really helps if you are flexible and take spots as they come (even though this may not be the easiest economically). Once one child is in, the siblings have higher priority. However, you may not qualify for subsidized spots unless you are both working (I think this is at the discretion of the daycare facility and is meant to help two-job families, ironically, with the idea of helping mothers get to work). Working status may also affect whether or not you get a spot at all (at the ETH Krippes, the waiting list is so long that you can forget it unless both parents are either students or working). So, until your husband finds a job, you may have to pay full fare, which is 100 and 150 per child per day of daycare. You must ask the daycare, because not all will have subsidized spots (I believe it is because some charge considerably more than the city rate, and so would not make as much money).

Whoa, that was long. If you have any questions about this, let me know. I've navigated daycare with two kids (we're not sure about a third) and two working parents. It has not been easy, but it can be done.

Cheers!
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Old 27.03.2012, 13:46
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

Bear in mind also that krippes in the posh parts of town cost much more than the cheaper areas of town. I pay a little less than 110CHF a day yet I have friends who pay 140CHF a day.

I'd also recommend a non bilingual krippe, your elder child will pick it up quickly and your twins will likely not know the difference just yet.
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Old 27.03.2012, 14:01
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

Your story sounds surprisingly familiar to another recent newbie with an "almost 3 year old" and younger twins, who will then be moving here, and is also looking for childcare.
Unfortunately I have forgotten the username...
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Old 27.03.2012, 22:29
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

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Bear in mind also that krippes in the posh parts of town cost much more than the cheaper areas of town. I pay a little less than 110CHF a day yet I have friends who pay 140CHF a day.

I'd also recommend a non bilingual krippe, your elder child will pick it up quickly and your twins will likely not know the difference just yet.

So which area of the city do you live/send your kids to krippe? I was thinking of trying to find accommodation in Oerlikon.

I think you are right about the non-bilingual krippe. Probably it's going to add to the confusion rather than help out. She can learn English from her father.
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Old 27.03.2012, 22:33
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

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Hi!

Congratulations on finding a job, and a partner who is obviously supportive! I've got a good partner too, and you'll be fine (though it will be tough at first!).

First, a nanny is not necessarily more economical, at least in Zurich city. If you choose a non-private Kinderkrippe, you can have a lot of help in the form of subsidies from the city (not the canton of Zurich, this applies to the city only and you just live here, not just work here). See here for a PDF in English that explains your costs:

http://www.kihz.ethz.ch/docs/elternbeitragsreglement_EN

As you'll see, unless you're making a whole ton o money, you won't be paying anything near 7000 CHF. In fact, for a very good job (low six figures), you'll be in the range of 3000-4000 per month.

There are also more childcare facilities in the city than in surrounding towns, so I'd definitely try to stay in the city. Family friendly places that aren't too far from the green include Affoltern and Oerlikon (but, they're ugly. I live in Oerlikon). There are at least 4 Krippes within walking distance of my house (though I use the one that is at work, since both me and my husband work full time). I agree with a previous poster that most will not be bilingual, but if your children understand English, it will not be a problem. Also, if you intend to integrate, then a German-speaking day care is better anyway, especially for your daughter, who will have less time to learn before Kindergarten.

One thought-is there any way you can ask your employer to help with the childcare? Some larger work places, like the ETH and ABB, run their own childcare facilities and have long waiting lists-which can be bypassed if the employer wants you badly enough.

Finally, even if you can't get spots for all three immediately, it really helps if you are flexible and take spots as they come (even though this may not be the easiest economically). Once one child is in, the siblings have higher priority. However, you may not qualify for subsidized spots unless you are both working (I think this is at the discretion of the daycare facility and is meant to help two-job families, ironically, with the idea of helping mothers get to work). Working status may also affect whether or not you get a spot at all (at the ETH Krippes, the waiting list is so long that you can forget it unless both parents are either students or working). So, until your husband finds a job, you may have to pay full fare, which is 100 and 150 per child per day of daycare. You must ask the daycare, because not all will have subsidized spots (I believe it is because some charge considerably more than the city rate, and so would not make as much money).

Whoa, that was long. If you have any questions about this, let me know. I've navigated daycare with two kids (we're not sure about a third) and two working parents. It has not been easy, but it can be done.

Cheers!

Thanks a lot swiss_in_training! Your email is like a treasure trove! I was in Oerlikon a couple of weeks ago and even though not the prettiest of places, it seems to be very children-friendly. Could you possibly give me the names of the Krippe you use, or is it for your firm's employees only?
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Old 27.03.2012, 22:53
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

Generally, daycare and schooling tends to happen close to home. So maybe the best way to "attack" this is to figure out where you need/want to live.
Though it may sound disheartening, finding childcare is not completely impossible though it can be quiet expensive. To understand the subsidy system for Zurich, have a look here http://www.kihz.ethz.ch/docs/elternbeitragsreglement_EN
As with any other place, there's a host of options available (albeit at a price) when it comes to childcare, figure out which option is best for you and persist until you find what you want for your kids.
Good luck settling in!
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Old 27.03.2012, 23:11
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

Hello Noraki,

There was a near discussion on this thread Moving to Basel. What will this Salary cover? about a family moving to Basel, not your exact case, but contains info and references that may help you

I hope this will help.

Good luck to you and to your family.
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Old 28.03.2012, 08:18
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

The biggest issue that I see with parents who bring their children to my workplace, is finding flexibility when the kids are sick. I am a working mum with three children, and am lucky to have a very flexible work position and an extremely supportive employer (and I work extremely hard to justify the relationship)...

Being here without extended family, and no network to call upon, when the kids are sick, we have to take days off work. In my last job, I made the fatal error of agreeing to a work contract where I was not paid if I took the occasional day off here and there to care for my children...I suffered financially.

In our current jobs, both my husband and I have virtually unlimited sick leave, but he gets quite strong negative pressure when he takes days off to care for the kids - and there's only one day in the week when he can 'realistically' skip work, because his work is the sort that cannot be taken home and done 'out of hours'...

In the first year of care, or with children under 2, they get sick...a lot...and a centre-based childcare cannot take them when they are sick, whereas a nanny can. But on the flip-side, a centre-based childcare is always open, and replaces their staff when sick, whereas if your nanny goes sick or quits, you have a big problem...

Do not get 'carried away' by the amount of money in your salary...or the possibility of having two full-time income earners. If you can do the maths (rent, household costs, childcare, tax, pension) on one income, that's great, but be careful you don't set yourself up too big (big apartment, big car, big childcare costs) and assume your husband will be able to hold and maintain a second income... you can always 'up-size' your lifestyle later...
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Old 28.03.2012, 17:20
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

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Thanks a lot swiss_in_training! Your email is like a treasure trove! I was in Oerlikon a couple of weeks ago and even though not the prettiest of places, it seems to be very children-friendly. Could you possibly give me the names of the Krippe you use, or is it for your firm's employees only?
Thanks! I use one of the ETH Kinderkrippen (it's on the Hönggerberg, and they run several in the city), but either you (or eventually your husband) needs to be affiliated with the ETH or the Universtiy of Zürich.

Oerlikon is definitely child friendly, and there are still some affordable larger apartments. Another plus in Oerlikon is that the schools are quite good often (at least in Neu Oerlikon) have a Hort and Mittagstisch (after school care and lunch) associated with them.

I have visited the Kinderkrippe Mariakäfer (kinderkrippe-mariakaefer.ch) but it was three years ago. I visited several others in the area as well, PM if you are interested.

Cheers
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Old 30.03.2012, 22:29
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

I have seen a nice flat in Seebach (Honigstrasse). Any ideas as to how it would be to raise the kids in this area? Any recommendations on daycare centres?
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Old 31.03.2012, 13:34
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

Hi,

Disclaimer: I'm giving you my opinion as a mother, not as an expert. This is not meant to offend anyone. Also, I'm one of the foreigners who would contribute to the non-German-speaking schoolkids issue. That's one reason why we put our kids in a German-speaking Kinderkrippe.

Seebach has somewhat of a worse reputation-it is seen as being less safe and with worse schools. It is also thought of as being an immigrant neighborhood, which may contribute to the schools' reputation (since they must spend more time teaching German to the non-German speakers). I know you're an immigrant too (so am I), so take that as you will.

On the plus side, there is a lot of green space, a very nice outdoor pool along the Katzenbach, as well as a youth center with activities for older kids and playground for the younger kids. There are certainly a lot of families, and the rents tend to be a bit lower than closer into the city.

Still, I'd be more concerned with the schools, especially as your daughter will soon be in Kindergarten, and if it was me, I'd choose less space/older apartment in a better neighborhood and avoid Seebach.

Affoltern is supposed to be better, though a friend of mine says that the new developments there are outpacing the capacities of the school, making it all a bit frantic for parents (especially Kindergarten-aged kids, because a lot o families with young children are moving there). The schools are also more burdened by a large presence of non-German speakers. On the plus side, lots of kids. Also, Kinderkrippes are opening close to the new developments.

Neu Oerlikon seems to be largely populated by Germans and Swiss (though of course, not entirely, and I even hear a bit of English now and then) so the language issue is better. This is reflected in higher-ranking schools. The other side of the train station (Oerlikon) is older, with smaller apartments and an older, more Swiss population.

On the negative, Neu Oerlikon is more expensive than either Seebach or Affoltern (though a far cry from Seefeld). Also, they're about to tear apart Bahnhof Oerlikon, so anything close to the station (like our place) is about to have a lot of noise pollution. On the positive, good schools, relatively abundant Kinderkrippes, good access to the city, and there are good playgrounds if you know where to look. There are also less-expensive apartments, again if you know where to look.

Okay, I hope that helps. Honestly, I moved here from Oakland, so the idea of "bad neighborhoods" in Switzerland is always to be taken with a grain of salt, but as a mom, yeah, schools and safety.

Cheers!
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Old 01.04.2012, 14:54
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Re: Working mother of three needs tips

Thank you very much swiss_in_training. Your post is extremely helpful, in that it confirms the feelings I got from a drive around Seebach and Oerlikon (no experience of Affoltern, but it seems very much from my workplace to be (Altstetten). Ideally we would move to Oerlikon. However, finding a flat there, seems quite a task....
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