Is child care expensive

Daycare fees A daycare place is really that expensive

Day care center - in short: day care center - is the collective term for very different care models, i.e. crèche, crèche and kindergarten. So far, so clear. However: The costs for the childcare places are not simply regulated in the same way nationwide or across the country. So it's all the more difficult to find your way through the jungle of daycare fees. There is no overriding price system - and that is exactly what leads to the confusing models that can differ even within the federal states.

What criteria are used to calculate the care costs?

The municipalities calculate the parental contributions on the basis of various aspects. Sometimes the gross or net income of the family is the basis, other facilities are graded according to income levels, with still others the age, the number of children and the hours of weekly care count.

First of all, it is important to distinguish between the regular childcare costs and the additional childcare fees. This division relates to whether the child is placed in the care of the educator during regular or during separate care hours. In addition, the costs of childcare with municipal providers are usually (not always!) Cheaper than with private providers.

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Additional costs: Meals are (often) charged extra

Food costs sometimes also depend on the location of the care, in some cases surcharges are levied for healthy food, or the food costs are also graded according to income. There may also be additional costs for offers such as music lessons. But each carrier determines this himself.

The child is registered in the daycare center - what happens next?

After registering at a daycare center, it may be necessary to present proof of family income to the youth welfare office in order to be able to calculate the parental contribution. This may require information about the following income:

  • Information from self-employed, non-self-employed or freelance work
  • Rental income and capital assets
  • Pension payments
  • Special payments such as vacation or Christmas bonuses
  • Maintenance received
  • Benefits according to the Employment Promotion Act, including sick pay

The calculation is usually based on the gross income of the entire family for the last calendar year. If the income varies due to allowances for shift work etc., this should definitely be stated. Since the subsidies from the federal government and the municipalities are different, the care costs depend heavily on the place of residence. But there are definitely measures to save costs (retrospectively).

Save on childcare costs? These 5 measures can help

1. Deduct childcare costs from tax

In the tax return, two thirds of the costs for childcare can be claimed as special expenses up to an amount of 4,000 euros per child and year. Families with low incomes should definitely find out whether they are entitled to discounts on childcare costs.

2. Rethink the duration of the care

This tip is clearly not suitable for all parents, because there is probably no other way to bring the child to daycare for a certain number of hours. However, it often makes a big financial difference if an hour or two less is booked.

3. Check whether the employer is providing grants

Some employers voluntarily grant childcare grants or subsidize a company daycare center, so that childcare costs are lower there.

4. Deduct household-related services from tax

Household-related services and domestic help, childcare and care can be deducted from the tax up to 20 percent (however, a maximum of 600 euros). An invoice or a transfer receipt are sufficient for the tax office in this case. The costs for au pairs on a mini job basis can also be deducted up to ten percent from the tax. The maximum possible is 510 euros. If the expenses exceed 490 euros per month, twelve percent of the expenses can be deducted up to an amount of 2,400 euros per year.

5. Apply for partial contributions

When the family income is low, the municipalities often pay some of the costs.

Speaking of kindergarten age: Have you ever heard of these (emergency) lies?

Day care fees by federal state

In December 2018, the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft compared the fee schedules of daycare centers in the largest German cities in a report. The result: some of the differences are enormous. We have listed the regulations and care costs per month using the example of an 18-month-old child in all 16 federal states.


In Baden-Württemberg, the daycare fees are not uniformly regulated. While parents in Heilbronn do not have to pay anything from the child's third year of life, fees are due in Stuttgart. However, families with an annual income of up to 70,000 euros can apply for a so-called “family card”, which reduces the fees. This card reduces the fee: a family with an income of 50,000 euros then pays 144 euros for 30-hour care of an 18-month-old child in a municipal facility.


In Hamburg, childcare is free of charge for parents for five hours a day, including lunch. In addition, the care costs are staggered - according to income level, scope of care and family size. For parents with an income of 50,000 euros, with 40 hours of care per week, this results in a contribution of 123 euros, regardless of the child's age.

Lower Saxony