Just when you get used to the routine and procedures in the baby room, your child gets promoted at daycare to one of the toddler rooms. Along with this promotion comes a new list of all of the things your child needs each day. Use this toddler packing list to make the transition easier for both you and your child.
- Diapers, training pants and underwear - depending upon the age of your toddler, you may be supplying one or more of these essential items. If your child is still in diapers, you will probably be asked to send in a case of diapers at a time. Anticipate that your toddler will require 6-8 diapers per day and plan accordingly. Remember to include extra plastic pants if you are using cloth diapers. Send resealable plastic bags for the dirty ones. If your child is potty training, provide the same number of training pants as diapers because many dry disposable training pants are wasted as part of the training process. When it comes to underwear, keep in mind that accidents happen. Send one pair of extra underwear for each extra outfit you send.
- Wipes - As your child gets older, wipes will be used for more than just diaper changes. Provide a full container initially and a refill package as needed. The portable container you include in your diaper bag can be used as a back-up supply if necessary.
- Diaper Rash Cream or Ointment
- Pacifiers - young toddlers may still be using a pacifier. Send a supply of three to four to daycare. Toddlers have a tendency to lose pacifiers. You wouldn't want your child to need one for comfort and not have it.
- Nap mats, mat covers, sheets and blankets - once your child is promoted to the toddler room, naps will likely take place on a nap mat or cot instead of in a crib. Check with your specific daycare, but many require you to provide the mat or at the very least a mat cover and a blanket. Remember that accidents frequently happen during nap time. Send two fitted sheets or mat covers and two blankets just to be on the safe side.
- Extra Outfits - send two to three extra outfits to be stored in your child's cubby. You may actually find that your toddler goes through more clothing changes per day than as a baby. Each outfit should be stored in an individual resealable plastic bag. These bags can then be used to send home dirty or wet clothes. Be sure to include extra socks and extra underwear as well.
- Bibs - keep four or five bibs at daycare. Toddlers begin learning to feed themselves, which is a very messy process. Most toddler bibs can only be used once before needing to be laundered.
- Outerwear - most daycare centers send toddlers outside to play once or twice per day. As weather and temperatures can change quickly, consider keeping a bag of outerwear at your daycare. Include an extra jacket or sweatshirt, a hat and some mittens. Store them in a large resealable plastic bag labeled with your child's name. You'll no longer have to worry if your child is cold if it suddenly get chillier than expected throughout the day.
More and more daycare centers are requiring parents to provide drinks, snacks and lunch on a daily basis. If yours is one, ask your provider for a list of suggested foods as well as banned foods. Many daycare centers are peanut-free zones.
- Drinks - most daycare centers provide milk but may ask that you send additional beverages for your child.
- Sippy Cups - keep at least two at daycare clearly labeled with your child's name.
- Finger foods - you will probably be encouraged to send finger foods so that your child can feed himself. In addition to some of the lunch and snack finger food suggestions listed below, consider sending cheerios and cut up bananas. Most toddlers love these two options.
- Lunches- suggestions include lunch meat (turkey or ham) and cheese slices rolled together, macaroni and cheese, pasta, mini-bagels with cream cheese or jelly, crackers, sliced fruit, canned green beans, yogurt or applesauce. Pack lunches in a thermal container with an ice pack. Many daycare centers cannot accommodate the refrigeration of individual lunches. Also keep in mind that most toddlers are not as temperature-sensitive as we are. They will be fine eating their pasta, macaroni and cheese or green beans either cold or at room temperature. Remember to pack a spoon if your daycare doesn't provide utensils.
- Snacks - depending upon the age of your toddler, send snacks such as gold fish crackers, dry cereal, cheese slices, applesauce, yogurt, pretzels, sliced fruit, raisins or any combination of the above. Again, remember to pack a spoon if needed.
Medicines and Other Sundries
- Medicines - pain reliever, fever reducer, and teething ointment. Label each individual medicine with your child's name.
- Sunscreen - since your toddler is likely to be outside once or twice per day, apply sun screen to your child as part of your morning routine and then be sure to keep some at daycare so it can be reapplied throughout the day as necessary.
It's the Little Things...
- Large t-shirt or smock - as your toddler gets older, art projects will come into play. While this may become your child's favorite time of day, the addition of crafts will increase the mess. If your daycare doesn't provide it, think about sending a large t-shirt or paint smock that your child can wear to protect clothes during art time.
- Involve your child - as your child gets older, make repacking the daycare bag or making lunches something the two of you do together each evening. It's never too early to begin teaching your child some basic organizational skills.
This daycare packing list will help make sure both of your mornings start well.