Childcare in Ski Resorts
Although spending time with your children is the aim of a family ski holiday, you'll probably want a night off or the chance to ski by yourselves – in-resort childcare is here to help.
There's some apprehension about taking young children on a ski holiday, but with the top child-care that's available now in resorts family ski holidays have become a lot easier to manage. There are many ways to go about arranging childcare, either part of a package deal or independently, your children will enjoy the ski holiday experience as much as you do. Take a look at this expert guide on the many child-care options:
A family specialist with childcare or creche
For first-time skiing parents this is a very good option. You can literally leave the breakfast table and go skiing and return when the lifts and lesson stop.
Meanwhile your children are being looked after and entertained by a qualified childcare team and nursery staff. The childcare team collects your child with all their paraphernalia and delivers them to and from ski school in the morning and afternoon. They also take them to lunch.
When you return from your day on the slopes to your chalet, the children are enjoying a supervised kids tea. So you, as a parent, really are on holiday as well. The childcare teams are generally flexible and if you want to ski with your children in the afternoon for half of the week, you can sign them out of childcare and return them for tea as suits you.
Operators that specialise in childcare facilities and nannies:
- Esprit Ski
- Ski Famille
- Family Ski
- Ski Beat
- Mark Warner
- Scott Dunn
- VIP Chalets
- Ski Hillwood
- Crystal Ski
Do it yourself
Bring your own nanny or au pair
This is a popular option when a group of friends and family travel together. Sharing a nanny means you have that extra help on the plane, through the airport and with the transfers, as well as in resort and in the evenings. They can work to your agreed schedule.
How does it work?
There are several specialist travel nanny companies. The family pays all the travel, accommodation and meals costs for the nanny. The cost for a week varies depending on how many hours and evenings you require the nanny service for.
Alternatively, if you are fortunate to have an extended family who like travelling and caring for your off-spring then rope-in the grandparents, aunties and uncles.
Local childcare resort
Different countries and regions have varying age limits for creche, kindergarten and ski school so if you shop around you will find someone who can care for your children, no matter what their age.
What age will they take babies from?
Some companies will take babies as young as 6 weeks old, however, if you are looking to book a week or two away with a British tour operator then generally speaking the youngest they will care for is four months or 17 weeks old.
In-resort nanny services
A number of British nanny companies operate across the most popular resorts with British skiers. In-resort nanny services and babysitting can also be requested through the local tourist office – however these may not be English-speaking and qualifications will vary.
Ski schools and creche
Many resorts have a ski creche/kindergarten attached to the ski schools. If you are travelling with a British operator they tend to wait until your child is 3 before they send them to ski school. However, if you go directly to the Austrian, French or Swiss ski school you can get them going on skis from as young as 2 years old. As long as they are out of nappies!
Some parents may want to have the peace of mind where their child is when leaving them in resort with a ski school or creche. There are devices your child can wear and you can check on a mobile app where there location is. Most come as a watch the child can wear.
Five things to remember when dropping the kids off for the day
- Make it fun. It may sound obvious but don't say you’ll miss them! Instead say we’ll be back soon to see how much fun you’ve had.
- Sunscreen. Apply well before they head out onto the slopes so that it has time to absorb, then it’s less likely to rub off or run into their eyes if they sweat.
- Pocket money and snack. Check to see if there will be a hot chocolate stop, in which case pop a few Euros in their pocket and a little snack/treat.
- Dress them appropriately for the weather, remembering that too hot can be as uncomfortable as too cold. Gloves that open up or mittens make it much easier for you and the instructors to put them back on after a little break. Make sure they have sunglasses as well as goggles as it can be hard for little ones to eat and drink in the sun with huge goggles covering their little faces.
- Name it. Make sure everything has a sticky label on it. Skis, poles, helmets, gloves, hats, hoods on jackets.
And finally for parents...
- Write your childcare details on paper as well as storing them in your phone. If your phone stops working due to low battery or extreme cold, you still have the details should you need them.
- Leave two different emergency contact numbers with your childcare, in case they need to contact you and your phone battery has run out.
- It is wise to keep your phone in an inside pocket or pop it into a spare glove to stop it from freezing.
- And always make sure you are back in good time to collect your children at end of the session so you can get any feedback from the instructors, teachers or carers.