6 Things Parents Should do Before Sending Their Children to Daycare for the First Time
The time has come for you, as a first-time parent, to send your little one off to daycare. For your child, daycare is the first step of a long journey of education. For you, as the parent, it's the first time you will be allowing your little one to leave the nest while trusting another adult to take care of your child.
It's okay to be nervous or scared in this instance. If your experience is anything like that of many other families, it can be emotional for both you and your little one when they first go off on their own. The good news is, millions of parents have been through the very things you will be experiencing and have lived to tell the tale.
We know it's easier said than done, but all there is to do is let go of the things you cannot control and take the initiative with those things that you can.
We, at Name Bubbles, have extensive experience in this area. In fact, Name Bubbles was born when our Founder and president, Michelle Brandriss, wanted to troubleshoot a way for her son's items to come home from daycare each day. The key for items returning home, Michelle found, was placing a label on everything heading out the door. Michelle also needed to make sure that everyone was always aware of her son's food allergies. Ensuring her son's things were clearly labeled was crucial for his health and safety.
We've compiled a list of tips that each parent should consider when prepping for daycare. Recommendations that will go a long way in helping you get through this emotional day.
Here we go...
1. Label Everything
Being a kids' labels company, this step sits at the top of our list. Labeling is crucial when getting your baby or toddler ready for daycare!
Picture this: You just spent a lot of money and time shopping for clothing, formula bottles, bibs, binkies, shoes, etc. for your little one. You get everything packed in your fancy daycare bag, and you drop the supplies off at daycare with your child. Now imagine that bag coming home with fewer things in it than it had when it first left your house.
Where did the baby bottle go? Who's bib is this? Why is my child missing a shoe?
Nobody likes daycare mix-ups. For parents, it can be expensive replacing such items. Daycare providers find mix-ups equally frustrating as they try to decipher which supplies belong to which child.
Labeling everything before sending your child off to daycare can mitigate the risk of potential mix-ups. However, any old label won't do. We recommend parents invest in one of our Daycare Label Packs. Each value pack comes with 96 customizable labels in five different sizes. Each label is printed with eco-friendly ink, and our durable vinyl sticker material will make sure each label lasts for your child's entire enrollment at daycare. Click here to shop for our Daycare Labels.
Additionally, if your child has allergies, you will need to ensure that the caretakers are always alert to this. Check out our allergy labels so your child's bottles, lunch boxes, and food containers can be marked appropriately, relaying this vital information! Of course, they are dishwasher safe, so you never have to worry about the labels falling off when cleaning these belongings .
Labeling is a proactive approach to avoiding all of these potential disasters. Your daycare provider will thank you for making their jobs easier, your bank account will thank you for not having to replace lost items, and, if your little one could talk, I'm sure they would thank you too.
2. Pack More Than You Think You’ll Need
It goes without saying, but kids are messy. They are unpredictable. They make your head spin even when you thought you were prepared for everything. Their spontaneity is both beautiful and terrifying. So, we suggest packing anywhere from 10 to 14 days worth of diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, and whatever else your child needs daily. This will create a smoother experience for you, your little one, and your care provider - as everything they will need will already be on hand at the premises.
Also, talk to the daycare staff and see if you can drop any of these extra supplies off a few days before your child's first day. It may not seem like much, but this way, you won't have to worry about forgetting anything important on the first day because everything will already be at the facility.
We created a checklist for both infants and toddlers to help you remember the most important items your child will need at daycare. You can download that checklist here!
3. Fill Out Any Paperwork Beforehand.
Again, this will be an emotional day. You will want free space in your head to think about other things rather than filling out any last-minute paperwork. Additionally, any unwanted stress may exacerbate your already emotional state.
Each state requires different information, but likely at the very least, you will have to present emergency contact information, photos of who will pick up the child, shot records, and physical forms.
Again, talk to your daycare provider and see if everything can be dropped off beforehand. The less you have to worry about on that first day of daycare, the better.
4. Get to Know the Daycare Provider
There are a lot of unknowns for both you and your child when it comes to daycare. Speaking with those who will be taking care of your child each day will give you a better idea of who they are and how they will be taking care of your child. With this information, you can have more peace of mind when your little one goes off each day.
Additionally, more open communication lines between caretakers/teachers and parents make for a smoother year overall. When we can better understand each other, the child's needs will be better met as well. It's important to let your caretakers know that you are there to be a part of the support system that holds up your child.
5. Create and Practice a Routine
By preparing your child for the big new world, they will be set up for success during their time at daycare. If they leave the house fearful and sad, the day's overall outcome will likely be negative. So, by preparing a goodbye routine and making going off to daycare something your child looks forward to, you are setting your child and yourself up for success.
If your child is old enough, we love the idea of enlisting them to help set up a private area that is dedicated to "going to daycare." You can create a cubby with their shoes, bag, and any other items that they bring with them each day. It can also be a fun activity to do together, and it makes your little one feel a sense of anticipation for each new day.
In preparing this special area, you can even have them help you place their new labels for daycare on their belongings! Yay, organization!
6. Get Your Little One and Yourself Emotionally Ready
This is also going to be an emotional time for you and your child. Being separated from your little cub for an extended period for the first time will be a lot for both of you. You've been so close to your little one every day. How are you going to handle handing the reins off to someone new?
The theme of this article is to be proactive, right? Then let's keep that train going!
It's best not to jump right in; instead, let's use baby steps (no pun intended...okay, pun SORT OF intended).
Start by having a trusted caregiver spend more time with your little one with you not present. At first, this could be 20-30 minute increments with you in a different part of the house. Next, step out of the house for an hour or two. Slowly work your way up so that you and your child know that this sort of separation is normal and that there's nothing to be afraid about.
We're not promising you won't shed a tear while dropping your child off on that first day, but this exercise should make it so it's not as much of a shock for both of you.
We hope these tips help you get off on the right foot with your little one this year. We would love to hear about how you prepare for your child heading off to daycare. Please feel free to share your stories with us on Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you again for joining us on The Weekly Bubble! We’ll see you in the next one.