My child is starting pre-school
What is the toddler allowance?
All 3-year-old children who are timely enrolled in Dutch-language education, and children aged 4 years who remain enrolled and attend school frequently enough, receive the toddler allowance: 140,72 euros per year.
The allowance forms part of the Growth Package and therefore only applies to toddlers who turn 3 or 4 years of age on or after 1/1/2019.
What is meant by ‘timely enrolment’?
You must enrol your child in pre-school within 2 months of their third birthday at the latest. You will subsequently receive the toddler allowance in the month that immediately follows the month in which the child benefit payment provider received their enrolment details; in the month following their third birthday at the earliest.
You will also receive the toddler allowance for 4-year-old children in the month following their fourth birthday at the earliest. Again, this is on condition that the child benefit payment provider has received the necessary information pertaining to enrolment and attendance from the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training.
How do you obtain the toddler allowance?
Do you live in Flanders? Then you needn’t do anything. The toddler allowance is paid automatically as soon as the Ministry of Education and Training sends the enrolment information to the child benefit payment provider.
Please note: if you live in Brussels or Wallonia - and your child attends a Dutch-language school in Flanders or Brussels-capital - this does not happen automatically and you must actively request the toddler allowance.
Tips for helping your little one settle in at school
The first school day is fast approaching. Is your toddler keen to discover new things and make new friends? Or are they feeling anxious about this new step? We provide a number of tips that aim to make the next phase as worry-free as possible.
- Do you have the opportunity to pay a visit to your child's classroom and meet their teacher in advance? Then take advantage of this! Many schools organise just such an introduction at the end of the holidays.
- Talk to your child about what to expect, but keep the conversation light. Reassure them that you will ‘come back’ to collect them at the end of the day.
- Go and purchase a satchel, together with your child. Make a fun occasion of it. Link the satchel to a positive experience.
- Prepare the satchel the evening before, together with your child. That way they know what’s inside it. And fill it with a number of familiar items.
- Pay close attention to what you provide your child in the way of food. Planning to give your child fruit? Then cut it into small, bite-sized chunks and make sure it’s a fruit that your child enjoys. That way it’s nice and familiar, and one less thing for your child to worry about.
- Don’t drag out your goodbyes at the school gate. Say ‘goodbye’ firmly and clearly. Also assure your child that you will be back shortly. And that there’s always a teacher on hand to dry any tears.
- Don’t overwhelm your child with questions when picking them up from school. The first day is a flood of impressions and they will be pretty tired. Give your little one the time and space they need and allow them to determine for themselves how much they wish to reveal about their day.
- Did their first day at school not go very well? Is your child reluctant to return the following day? Be patient!
- Give it some time. If their reluctance persists, then discuss it with their teacher.
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