So you’ve just moved to a new city in a new country, you’ve found a place to live, you have a good job, but there is one thing still worrying you. How can you help your children adjust to this move? No matter what their age this is often a daunting time for them.
Thankfully, we have expat and founder of the Facebook group Dusseldorf Toddler Play Group, Jackie Mitchell, here today to give us her top tips to getting you and your kids acquainted with the city of Dusseldorf.
So what can you do to help the settling in period go a little more smoothly? Here is an introduction guide for expats with children in Dusseldorf.
Finding a Play Group for Children in Dusseldorf
Dusseldorf is a very child-friendly city where children are catered for well. In the city, there are a number of playgroups, child-friendly cafes and soft play areas where you’ll find many expat families. Here are just a few to get you started:
An English reading/singing group for babies and toddlers. Run by a wonderful lady called Mel this group meets for story telling and song singing. Its a great way to meet other mums and dads and for little ones to make new friends and hear a story or two.
- When? Every Monday morning at 11.30
- Where? International Library
- Cost: Free
A baby cafe suitable for young babies through to toddlers.
- When? Open Monday to Sunday (opening times are dependent on location)
- Where? Pempelfort and Unterbilk locations
- Cost: 1,90 – when you purchase the 10-er card / 2,40 – for a single entrance card (per person, regardless of age & always subject to change)
Baby and Toddler soft play area.
- When? Tuesday – Saturday from 10 am – 6 pm & Sunday from 3 pm – 6 pm
- Where? Achenbachstr. 148, 40237 Düsseldorf
- Cost: 2,50 – for everyone under the age of 18 (always subject to change)
Knowing Where to Shop in Dusseldorf
General day to day shopping can be hard with a little one especially when you don’t know the city, the supermarkets or even sometimes the products. There are a few main supermarkets:
- Rewe (for online shopping go to: shop.rewe.de)
These are all over the city. Their sizes, however, may not be what you are used to. If you find it difficult to do the shop with your little one you could always try shopping online.
Rewe offers an excellent online shopping service. Great if you don’t have a car.
In Dusseldorf, the shops for those necessary baby supplies, toiletries, household cleaning products and makeup can be found at:
DM is excellent when and about as they all have baby changing facilities with free nappies and wipes.
REMEMBER the only shops open on a Sunday in Dusseldorf are those at the airport or main train station.
Finding out about Kitas, Kindergartens and Schools for Children in Dusseldorf
Placing your child in a German kita, kindergarten or school might, at first, seem a bit daunting, and I can’t guarantee it won’t be stress-free but don’t worry, the education system here is excellent.
General information by the municipal Jugendamt can be found at the i-Punkt Familie.
Kitas vs. Kindergartens
- KiTa (Kindertagesstätte) has places for under 3-year-olds
- Kindergarten usually means ages 3-6, although some may cater for under 3’s and 3 – 6-year-olds
Place allocation for a public Kita is managed by the municipal Jugendamt, by signing up with the Kita-Navigator. This is not an easy process, especially if you are trying for a spot in the middle of the year. Places are usually assigned in March for new Kita-year starting on the first of August of the same year.
There are private Kita’s in Dusseldorf but expect to pay up to €1000 per month.
Registration for Grundschule (6 – 10 years) and Gymnasium (11 – 16 years) is done directly with the school of your choice. Again, this is not always easy when joining midway through the year but not impossible.
More detailed information about the registration process and the schooling system can be found on the Düsseldorf School website.
There are a few international Schools around Dusseldorf starting from preschool. Here is a couple to get you started:
Finding more Information about Day-to-day Life with Children in Dusseldorf
This might seem like an impossible task but Facebook is an excellent place to start.
Join our Dusseldorf Toddler Group and feel free to introduce yourself.
It is a closed Facebook group for parents from all over the world, living in and around Düsseldorf. It was formed to help expat families regarding expat life with emphasis on children and families. Members share their experiences of living in the city and help one another with the various questions regarding raising children from birth through schooling.
If you want to join, just send a facebook message to one of the administrators Jackie Mitchell or Lisa Pagano-Volcker with a few details about why you’re interested in joining.
Want to ask Jackie some more questions? Feel free to message her directly on Facebook. Do you have more questions about living #LifeInDüsseldorf? Send us an email with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have tips you’d like to share with others, we’re also accepting guest posts which include the author’s name, bio, and photo.