How to find a Babysitter or Nanny in Berlin12 February 2020 | By Lisa H
We asked Giulia Baldisserri, the owner of Extra Arms nanny agency about how she can help Berlin parents with their childcare needs. Originally from Italy, Giulia spent her teenage years in Ireland and moved to Berlin in 2012 after stints in Bologna and London, where she started working as a nanny.
How did you come up with the idea of creating a Nanny Agency?
I opened Extra Arms as a part-time venture beside my nanny work in the fall of 2015, and it became my main occupation in the spring of 2017.
When I moved to Berlin I expected to find agencies who would assist me in finding new families, and was surprised to find practically none. I independently found the family I ended up working with for many years and they became my gateway into the large community of expats families in Berlin – it turned out I was not the only one who was disappointed by the lack of a solid presence of agencies and professional carers.
Families were desperately looking for carers via school message boards, on social media and through word of mouth but this method often became very frustrating: even once a carer and family found each other they'd often find themselves wondering what their expectations of each other should be, how to structure their time together and ensure that this unique type of working relationship lessen their stress, rather than add to it.
This is what Extra Arms aims to do: not only help families and Nannies find each other, but ensure that they are supported in creating a working relationship that improves everyone's quality of life.
What do you like most about your job?
My absolute favorite aspect of my work, and the reason why the Extra Arms project has survived, in terms of my willingness to stay open and do this instead of hands-on childcare, is that I still get to be a carer.
I believe that a child's well being is very closely linked to how well the adults around them are doing, and in this sense, opening Extra Arms is a gesture within my own continuum as a carer: I know that nanny/family relationships can be wonderful, complex and often very emotional. Extra Arms aims to be the safe space that all parties can use to manage their relationship so they can truly thrive and work in the best interest of the children in their care.
The conversations with parents, the monthly nanny Chats, the family/nanny mediations and the parent support initiatives we have in the pipeline are my favorite part of the work. I am incredibly grateful to all those families and Nannies who choose to share their minds and hearts with me, I am in awe of the diversity I am encountering and look forward to growing as a person and carer through my interactions with them for years to come!
How can you help parents looking for childcare?
At Extra Arms we constantly search for, interview and support qualified Nannies so that they will be ready to join our books and start working with “their” family as soon as they meet.
We offer two types of childcare for parents:
Our On Demand Babysitting service is designed to provide childcare on short notice and for short periods of time, from one night to three months.
For families that wish to find a carer that will support them mid- to long-term, we have designed a Nanny Search process that will put them in touch with Nannies who are able to provide exactly the care they need. Once family and nanny have chosen each other, we will assist in drafting and registering their contract, and will be available to both sides throughout their time together.
How do you help parents that haven’t been able to find a Kita spot?
I think the best way Extra Arms can help is by facilitating families coming together and joining forces to create Nanny Shares. Hiring a full-time carer can be very expensive for a single family and isolating as well – in contrast to the bustle and array of stimuli a Kita will provide.
We have a system that will allow families to come into contact with other families; this will mean that costs can be shared, and that parents and children will have an opportunity to interact and organize with each other daily, support each other and benefit from each other's inputs.
Now that the Jugendamt is beginning to refund families for the Kita vouchers they have been unable to spend, creating shares can also be easier on everyone's pocket.
Read more about this in our article about the reimbursement of private childcare.
How can parents get started with Extra Arms?
Parents who need a short notice, short term cover can go directly to our On Demand Babysitting page and send us a request via the form provided: it will reach the Sitters in real time and families will be put in touch with their Sitter very quickly.
Parents who need mid- to long-term cover should drop us a line via email to be booked in for a family consultation. During this meeting we will discuss their needs in detail so we can provide them with a follow up document detailing options and costs specific to their situation.
Families can then meet suitable nannies and see if the chemistry is right. Once there’s a match, the nanny and family will be invited back to the office so we can formalize the agreement. Of course this process will vary slightly for each pairing: some feel a few trial shifts are in order before letting us know that they are ready to formalize, for others the connection is instant and it is such a pleasure to see pairings coming in for their consultation who have already reached instinctive and wholehearted consensus on all the points I encourage them to discuss in that setting.
Thanks, Giulia, for your insights and support of Berlin families!
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