Just when you get used to the routine at your daycare center's baby room, your child gets promoted to one of the toddler rooms! This change comes with a new list of things your child needs each day so use this toddler packing list to ease this transition.
Diapers, Wipes, and Underwear
If your child is still in diapers, you may be asked to send a case of diapers at a time. Anticipate that your toddler will require 6-8 diapers per day and plan accordingly.
Also, include diaper rash cream or ointment.
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.
As for underwear, accidents can and will happen. Send one pair of extra underwear for each extra outfit you pack.
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 pack in your diaper bag can be used as a backup supply if necessary.
Nap Time Necessities Like Pacifiers, Sheets, and Blankets
If your young toddlers still uses 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.
Naps will likely take place on a nap mat or cot instead of a crib. Check with your 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 to be on the safe side.
Extra Outfits, Bibs, Outwear, and Clothes for Paint Time
Send two to three extra outfits to be stored in your child's cubby. You may find that your toddler goes through more clothing changes per day than as a baby with spills, paint, and playtime outside. Store each outfit in a resealable plastic bag to be used to send home the dirty or wet clothes. Be sure to include extra socks and extra underwear as well.
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.
Most daycare centers understand the need for outdoor activities so your toddler will be sent outside to play once or twice per day. Since weather and temperatures change, 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 gets chillier than expected throughout the day.
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.
Packing Lunches, Snacks in Containers
More and more daycare centers are requiring parents to provide drinks, snacks, and lunch on a daily basis. If yours does, ask your provider for a list of suggested foods as well as banned foods. Many daycare centers are peanut-free and nut-free zones.
Most daycare centers provide milk but may ask that you send additional beverages for your child. Keep at least two sippy cups at daycare clearly labeled with your child's name.
You will probably be encouraged to send finger foods so that your child can feed themselves. In addition to some of the lunch and snack finger food suggestions listed below, consider sending toddler favorites like cheerios and cut up bananas.
Here are a few lunch suggestions:
- Lunch deli meat (turkey or ham) and cheese slices rolled together.
- Macaroni and cheese or some other pasta with butter.
- Mini-bagels with cream cheese or jelly,
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 or macaroni and cheese either cold or at room temperature. Remember to pack a spoon if your daycare doesn't provide utensils.
Depending on the age of your toddler, send snacks such as goldfish 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 Sunscreen
Pain reliever, fever reducer, and teething ointment can be sent labeling each individual medicine with your child's name. Since your toddler is likely to be outside once or twice per day, apply sunscreen 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.
Get your child involved in your packing efforts. As they get older, make repacking the daycare bag or making lunches something you can do together each evening. It's never too early to start teaching your child some basic organizational skills.
Edited by Elizabeth McGrory.