For most Moms, tackling the food problem is the biggest challenge when sending their child to daycare. Since we’ve already handled that problem for both babies and toddlers, let’s look at the next task – what to pack for daycare!
With all the responsibilities Moms already have, the last thing they want is an empty daycare bag staring at them just as they’re about to head out the door! As we all know very well, packing in a hurry isn’t exactly fruitful – we’re likely to leave out important items or end up packing things improperly – you don’t want to clean up an upturned bottle of baby lotion!
That’s why we recommend having a specific packing list for daycare, which you can put up on your fridge door or some other prominent place. All you need to do is check items off the list the night before, add in your home cooked meals the next morning and walk out that door all easy breezy!
What to Pack for Daycare
Of course, before deciding what to pack, you need to have the right kind of bag. A good diaper bag may be sufficient, but some Moms find that they have to send in another ‘wet’ bag to hold dirty clothes. Since you’re going to be using this on a daily basis, invest in a bag with strong zippers and handles and preferably lots of pockets. Here are some more tips when packing for daycare:
- Pack like items together, like diapering essentials in one place
- Don’t stuff the bag to bursting point
- Let every item be easily accessible for the caretakers
- Pack food separate from personal care products
- Make sure any baby care products are securely lidded
- Avoid clothes with too many buttons, clasps or ties
- Label everything with your child’s name
- Check the daycare center’s policy regarding plastic containers or cloth diapers
Daycare Packing List for Babies
1. Extra Clothes – Pack multiple sets of clothes depending upon how long your baby will be at the center. If you’re using cloth diapers, you’ll need more than you expect. Your center may also keep a few sets there, so talk to them beforehand.
2. Diapers – The most important item! Label your baby’s pack of diapers so it doesn’t get mixed up with someone else’s. Discuss disposal with the center. I’ve heard of centers who send back soiled diapers simply because they had no way to dispose of so many!
3. Diaper Cream – This is something that is just as important as diapers! Send in your baby’s usual diaper cream, so that he doesn’t have to use something that doesn’t suit his skin. Diaper creams finish quickly, so keep checking everyday.
4. Wipes – Most daycare centers have their own baby wipes, but it might make more sense to send in your own, especially if your baby has sensitive skin. Start with a big pack and keep checking, so you don’t have to buy too frequently.
5. Wash Cloths – Send in a few wash cloths in different sizes, to wipe baby’s mouth and also to act as a burp cloth. Babies are super messy, so send in more than one!
6. Towel – Along with wash cloths, don’t forget a full sized towel or two which will be used to bathe the baby in case of a full diaper blowout. Towels can transmit germs, so you don’t want to use public ones!
7. Teether – If your little one has started teething, send in her favorite teether so she can gnaw on it. If your center has a freezer, send in a labelled box of frozen popsicles or fruit so she can soothe her gums with something cold.
8. Bottles – Be very clear with your daycare’s policy on feeding bottles. Some centers prefer frozen breast milk which they store in their freezer. Some may not have this facility, so you’ll have to send in thawed milk. For formula, send in the required amounts in bottles so all they have to do is add water.
9. Feeding Utensils – For your weaning baby, send in clean, sterilized feeding utensils in a sterile pouch. Include separate utensils for each meal so you can be assured she has a clean set for every use.
Daycare Packing List for Toddlers
1. Extra Clothes – You might think that toddlers don’t need as many clothes as babies, but that’s not true! Toddlers are probably learning to self feed or are potty training, which means they need multiple clothes changes too. Be sure to include extra underwear and bottom wear if your little one has just started potty training.
2. Diapers – It’s a good idea to send diapers along even if your child has begun potty training. You never know when your munchkin is having a bad day and might need a diaper to keep things under control!
3. Bibs – Now that your toddler is eating more regular food and finger foods, it’s important to send bibs. Go for large, apron-style ones to keep his clothes safe. Some bibs have pockets at the bottom to collect falling bits of food, preventing them from landing into his lap.
4. Napkins – Along with a bib, napkins are another toddler essential. Besides helping with messy emergencies, they also help to inculcate good manners as toddlers learn to eat neatly and to wipe their hands and mouth after washing.
5. Sun Hat – Many daycare centers have some time set for outdoor play, so send a sun hat so your toddler can enjoy himself. If your center has additional facilities like toddler pools, then be sure to send in appropriate clothing for those activities too.
6. Toy – By this age, most children have a favorite toy that they carry around everywhere. Our tip – find an exact duplicate of that toy to send to daycare and keep the original at home. If it’s too expensive, try to find an alternative well before your child starts daycare so there are no tantrums for it.
7. Potty Seat – If your toddler is getting used to a potty seat on the big toilet at home, let him carry one to daycare as well. You might prefer to leave a separate one at the daycare so you don’t have to cart it to and fro every day. If this bothers your toddler, get a travel version to use at home and daycare.
8. Sipper – This is also likely to be a time when you’re getting your little one to wean from a bottle to a sippy cup. You can encourage his progress even at daycare by sending his favorite sipper with him instead of the bottle. Try to send only water in it though, instead of sugary juices.
Besides these, don’t forget to pack in an information card – most diaper bags have a slot for it on the outside. Include the child’s name and emergency contact information like your name and phone number. You should also send in a card with medical information that mentions food allergies and any other details specific to your child. Avoid sending expensive clothes, toys or other items – let your kids have fun without having to worry about ruining things!