Family Trip / Plan Your Trip

Everything you need to know about childcare in the mountains

The holidays are fast approaching and your children are excited about playing in the snow in the Alps. You’re excited, too, about introducing them to the joys of the mountains, but you also want to get some skiing in, leaving your children to learn the basics in their professional ski lessons.

You might also be looking forwards to enjoying the resort activities – gym, spa, swimming pool, snowshoeing, dog-sledding etc). These might not necessarily fit in with your child’s routine – they might prefer to play in the snow with other children.

So here’s our guide to the different childcare solutions for children of all ages, from the youngest to the oldest.

Who can look after your children in the mountains?

Youngsters learn to ski with an instructor in Les Houches, in the Alps
Children enjoy their lessons at the Ecole de Ski Française in Les Houches ©

The École de Ski Française (ESF)

From three months old

  • The ESF sometimes has nurseries for children as young as three months old and upwards. They will be looked after by a team of teachers and activity leaders who specialise in early years care. Your children can enjoy early learning activities, and playing indoor games. Meals may also be offered, depending on the setting. Find the nearest ESF nursery to your resort here.
  • The ESF’s kindergartens, or Club Piou-Piou, welcome your children from the age of three. The ESF is the ideal place for children to discover snow and skiing – activities are adapted to their age and a qualified team specialising in early childhood makes their days fun, educational and fulfilling. But they will also get to enjoy the snow in specially-designed areas. Find the nearest Club Piou-Piou to your resort here.

From six years old

  • Children aged between six and 12 can enjoy beginner ski lessons or group lessons. You can sign them up for the Ourson beginner course in Châtel, for example, where they can learn to ski in a beginners’ area with a conveyor belt, so that they can start out confidently at their own pace.
  • The ESF often offers small classes (4-7 children), where they can progress more quickly. This is a good compromise between group and private lessons. Click here to see this offer in St Gervais.
  • The ESF also welcomes teenagers aged from 12-18 years old, for ski lessons adapted to their ability. This way, they can learn and progress safely with their instructors – there’s no better way to gain confidence on the snow. Click here to see the courses and training courses available in Meribel.

Worth knowing: some ski schools are open in the morning and afternoon, closing for the lunch break. Others will keep children through the lunch hour if they bring a packed lunch. Many ESF schools offer “ski and childcare” packages, to keep your children occupied before or after their lessons.

Childcare facilities

Children enjoy playing with cars at a day care centre in the Alps
Children enjoy games on a playmat in a daycare centre in the Alps © Photo BBC Creative on Unsplash

Some ski stations offer childcare from the age of three months, but in many cases, they will be open to children aged from 12 or 18 months.

Daycare is ideal if you want to spend most of your time with your family, but have daycare as an occasional option, for example, if you want to spend the day with your partner or friends. The activities range from sporting to manual, indoor or outdoor – your children won’t be bored. Plan ahead and book this service as soon as you can, as places are in high demand. You can do this on the ESF website for your resort.

Planning your budget: nurseries offer half-day or full-day packages – you will need to budget about 40€ for a half-day, about 60€ for a full day and generally more than 70€ for a day with lunch. Please note that prices vary from one resort to the next.


Some ESF schools welcome babies from the age of three months. Entrusting them to a creche will give you peace of mind while you enjoy the slopes or other activities.

While you’re away, your children will enjoy activities such as indoor games or snow fun (for older ones – snowmen, rolling and sledging). Book as soon as possible to ensure a place. Click here to find out more about Les Lutins creche in Châtel.

In Le Grand Bornand, there are two nurseries for children aged from three months to five years. The price will depend on your options.

Planning your budget: In general, allow about 30€ for half a day and between 40€ and 50€ for a day.

Children’s clubs

A snowman wearing a red hat in the Alps
Building snowmen is one of the activities on offer at a children’s club © Photo Showkat Chowdhury on Unsplash

Children’s clubs are usually open to youngsters aged from three upwards and are a good childcare solution for your mountain holiday.

There’s a varied programme of activities for your little ones, according to their age including building igloos and snowshoeing. They’ll be able to have fun with their new friends in a safe environment. You can often choose a package which includes ski lessons, meals and after-school care. See an example of a children’s club here.

Another example, is the children’s village in Avoriaz, which takes care of everything – all you have to do is select your options. Click here for the price list.

The Kids Club in Megève will entertain children with huts, games, relaxation and creative activities.

Planning your budget: Roughly 140€ for 20 hours of care.

Book a child-friendly ski chalet



You could consider hiring a childminder or nanny on an occasional contract. This would mean you become the employer and must provide end-of-contract documents at the end of your holidays (employer’s reference, receipt for final pay, work certificate).

You can find an approved childminder on the URSSAF website. Many websites, such as Nounou-top or Garder mes enfants offer nanny search services. In Morzine, you can find a childminder by clicking here.

Planning your budget: the childminder’s pay is calculated on the basis of a minimum hourly wage plus a maintenance allowance. Meal allowances and mileage allowances may be added to this sum.


Babysitters are a good solution to holiday childcare, especially for younger children. Many daycare centres do not always offer childcare for babies under 18 months, so home-based childcare is a good alternative.

Babysitters must be at least 16 years old, and as babysitting is a paid job, you will have to sign an employment contract.

Planning your budget: the minimum wage for home-based childcare is the minimum hourly wage. In all cases, the pay cannot be lower than the legal minimum, although it can be higher. It will increase according to the number of children being looked after and extras such as meal preparation.

In all cases, you will need to book in advance for a guaranteed place, particularly during the school holidays and at Christmas. These times are very popular and places are very limited.


Why not bring Grandma and Grandpa on holiday with you? As well as enjoying a family holiday in a wonderful mountain setting, they will also enjoy looking after their grandchildren – and you can enjoy the ski slopes with an easy mind.

Grandparents love these precious moments with their grandchildren – they create magical memories that are even better in a holiday atmosphere, at a mountain chalet and with evenings together around the fire.

Book one of OVO Network’s “Cool for Kids” partner properties

Bunk beds and single beds in the children's bedroom at Chalet des Hottes, in Morillon, in the Alps.
The children’s bedroom at Chalet des Hottes in Morillon © OVO Network

If you want to make sure of a successful family holiday, why not book one of OVO Network’s Cool for Kids chalets? These chalets are designed to welcome children of all ages, and have the following facilities:

  • For hygiene: a changing table, potty… ;
  • For safety: a stair gate, fire guard, socket covers;
  • For meals: children’s cutlery, crockery, cups and a high chair;
  • For the bedroom: bed linen, a night light, blackout blinds or curtains;
  • For the bathroom: a non-slip mat, a step stool, and a bath seat;
  • For entertainment: games and activities such as paper, crayons, markers, books, board games, outdoor games etc.

Ski resorts offer plenty of options for childcare in winter, from creches for the very young to ski lessons for teenagers and kids clubs. If you would like to read more about childcare options in the Alps, we recommend this article on the subject.

Now all you have to do is choose the solution that works best for you and your family. And to help you prepare for your holiday, here are some more articles:

Now that you know all of the childcare options available to you in the Alps, have a look at our Cool for Kids chalets

Browse Cool for Kids chalets


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