Daycare essentials: How to prep like a pro

Starting daycare is an exciting but hectic time, but a little preparation goes a long way. Check out our top tips to make sure this big step in your kid’s life (and your life) goes as smoothly as possible.

The first day of daycare is a big day! For kids, it’s a lot of change at once—a new place, new people, and a new routine. While many parents find this scary, most kids are eager to jump right in once they get past the initial nervousness.

Talk about what to expect

Daycare is often the first time a toddler spends time away from familiar people and places. Before the big day, talk about what they can expect. What is daycare? What will they do there? If you’re excited about it, your kid will be too, so be sure to big up all of the exciting adventures they’ll be having, such as making new friends, playing with new toys, learning cool things and enjoying fun games outside.

Pack clothes like a pro

You won’t be there to hunt down sweaters and mittens, so pack a bag to leave at the daycare with everything your kid might need. In addition to weatherproof outerwear, include a set of rainwear and rubber boots for rainy days, and don’t forget important seasonal items, such as a hat, gloves or mittens and sunglasses. It’s always a good idea to pack a full change of clothes too, just in case. When dressing for the day, layers are the best way to keep your kid comfortable both indoors and out. Choose a breathable base layer, warm mid layer and comfortable, protective outer layer.

Send something cozy from home

Especially younger kids might sometimes feel a little homesick, particularly at nap times when they’re used to cuddling up to Mom or Dad. You can help your kid feel more at ease by letting him or her choose a soothing comfort object to take along, such as a favorite toy or security blanket. A small album of family photos often helps bring a smile back to your kid’s face, too.

Remember the essentials

Check with your daycare to find out which essential items you should bring. For ages 1–3, this might include, for example, diapers, pacifiers, wet wipes, and a milk bottle, while kids of all ages will likely need sunblock and a water bottle. Remember that space is limited at daycares, so only pack what’s truly needed.

Label label label

Label everything—and we mean everything. Everything that goes with your kid to daycare should be labeled with your kid’s name, including clothing. This will not only keep special items from getting lost, but will also help daycare employees keep track of which items belong to which kid.

Feeling ready for the big first day of daycare? We’re sure it’s going to go swimmingly! If there are a few important items of clothing still missing from your list, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Prepare for Daycare Checklist

All ages
Babies and toddlers

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