babies having fun at daycare

mom packing diaper bagIf you’re sending your child to daycare or preschool for the first time, knowing what to pack can become overwhelming. It’s hard enough to pack for a quick outing to the park or the grocery store, let alone an entire day without you! Our list of essentials will make sure that your child is covered.

Milk or formula for infants. If you plan on sending breast milk to daycare with your infant, remember to ask your childcare center how they would like it to be packed. Some may ask for it to be brought in thawed, while others may have freezers and can thaw for you. Formula should be pre-measured into your baby’s bottles.

Diapers. If your child is not yet potty-trained, pack enough diapers, labeled, to get him through the week. If your child is potty-trained but still needs a pull-up for naps, remember to pack enough for naptime for the week. Packing wipes is a great idea. Childcare centers will have them on hand, but will greatly appreciate you packing some, so that their supply does not run low!

Pacifiers. If your child is dependent on a pacifier, then you know the importance of keeping several around at all times. Pack a few extras for your child so that when one gets lost, or gets dirty, there are a few more on hand.

A change of clothes. Packing a couple of pairs of extra pants and underwear, as well as a shirt or two, is essential. Kids get messy, spill on themselves, and have accidents, and many kids come home from daycare in different clothing from the outfit they came to school in!

Naptime gear. Does your child have a favorite blanket or stuffed animal that she likes to sleep with? Remember to pack these naptime essentials to make going off to sleep much easier.

Food. Check with your childcare center to see what food is provided throughout the day. Some will ask that you bring lunches and snacks, others will provide snacks and ask you to bring lunch, and some will provide all of the food your child needs for the day.

Medicines, sunscreen, and dental care. If your child needs any medicine throughout the day, clearly label and pack it, and label the dosage and the timing on the package. Pack sunscreen and a toothbrush, as your child’s daycare teachers will want to keep her protected from the sun and may ask her to brush her teeth after lunch.

If you’re a daycare veteran, do you have any essentials that you pack with your child each week that make a huge difference? Let us all know in the comments section.