Getting Yourself and Your Baby Ready for Daycare
It doesn’t matter if this is your first time taking a little one to daycare or if you’re a seasoned veteran who’s been down this road before, it’s a stressful time filled with lots of emotions. One thing we’ve learned through our experience and from our wonderful customers is that being prepared can help. We’ve collected some tips to help you get ready for daycare so that first day goes more smoothly and the emotions aren’t too overwhelming.
Make Some Lists
Nobody understands your baby’s habits, preferences, and all those little nuances like you do. You clearly don’t want to overwhelm the new daycare with lists and lists, but a few tips like which toy is most soothing or if your baby likes to be walked and held or prefers it if you sit calmly when holding them can make the day go better for everyone.
Practice Time Away
If your child is having a bit of separation anxiety, this can make daycare very stressful for you and them. Rather than diving into the experience, try having that parent spend some time away at home, while your baby stays in their familiar home environment with one-on-one attention from someone else. It might mean having the help of a family member, friend, or even a babysitter for a couple hours. In fact, that key parent doesn’t even have to leave the house, they just need to stay away from the child so they both can ease into being apart.
Why do a full day right away? Of course, the daycare may want to charge you for the full day, but you can ease into that first day by only leaving your child there for an hour or two. This gives you both a chance to experience being apart. It also lets you pop back into the daycare in the middle of the day and see how things are going with the staff and the children. You don’t want to do this without asking and you certainly don’t want to throw off their routine, but an abbreviated first day might be just the thing to help you prepare.
Expect Some Changes
Daycare is not going to be just like it is at home. Not only is the environment new but there are other children, so the caregiver’s attention is split. This will be an adjustment for your baby and can create a bit of a fussy transition as they get used to the new routine. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with daycare, your little one, or your decision to enroll them in daycare. It’s just a part of the process and knowing that fussy days are coming can make them a bit easier to manage.
Better Yet – Prepare for Changes
There are going to be some things you can’t prepare for but one thing you can is the new schedule. Ask the daycare what their daily schedule is as far as naps and bottles, etc. Then, change your routine so it more closely matches theirs. This is going to be a big help in the long run.
Start Labeling (Everything!)
One of our biggest tips for starting daycare is to keep track of your child’s things. This isn’t just for you, it’s also extremely useful for the daycare. Easy-to-read daycare labels instantly help identify what items belong to which child. Our daycare labels pack give you a variety of labels that you can customize with your child’s name and cute images. They attach to dishes and bottles and go through the wash with no wear and tear. There are clothing labels that are laundry safe or iron-on labels for items that don’t have tags. There are everyday name labels you can stick on toys. We even have write-on bottle labels where you can print your child’s name and the date of the bottle – then erase and use them again. This added bit of security is a huge relief for many parents when it comes to feeding time and making sure your child gets the comfort of their regular toys, blankets, and lovies.
Pack a Big Bag
You will want to check with your daycare provider, but in general, having more is better than not enough. This means you’ll want extra diapers, extra breast milk or formula (even some to freeze), enough clothing for more than one blow-out per day, etc. It all depends on where your child is going and what they want you to provide versus what they’ll be providing. But this is one situation where it’s generally best to overpack, just in case.
What will you pack in your big bag? Typically, you’ll want to pack two weeks’ worth of supplies into your weekly bag. Use this daycare checklist to help you prepare.
- Diaper cream
- A couple pacifiers
- Bottles and extra food/milk
- Spare clothing
- A blanket
- Favorite stuffed animal/toy
- Extra labels
- Medications (if needed)
- Outdoor (seasonal) clothing
- Family photo
For a more complete list of items to pack, we have both an infant and toddler checklist to print for your convenience.
Immediately Before the Big Day
You might be a master of the schedule and think you have it all worked out and we applaud that, but we also highly recommend packing as much as you can the night before daycare and then giving yourself an extra half hour that morning. If you’re on top of things, then this is just a little extra me time to enjoy your coffee or cuddling your baby. But, most likely, things won’t go exactly as planned and you’ll appreciate that extra time.
Hopefully, this post will help you prepare for that big day. The more you have ready, the more time you have to mentally get used to the idea of your child spending a big part of their day away from you. Make sure you connect with your support team; in case you need them.
In the meantime, pop over to our website and we’ll help you get those customized labels ordered. You’ll find that they save you a lot of time and trouble and they might even save money because your items come back to you rather than being pitched or languishing in a lost and found.