Heading to Preschool or Daycare
School is right around the corner (if not here already!) for all of us, and if you’re mom to a little one (like I am), it could mean a first school day experience at preschool or daycare awaits! Finding a school that you feel is an ideal fit for your child can be an unbelievably daunting task, so if you’re enrolled, it means you’ve conquered that journey and now you’re left with your final preparations before the big first day!
You want to be sure you’ve checked all the little things off your list to be fully prepared:
- Make sure to complete your child’s registration packet and submit initial payments
- Mark key school calendar dates so you can plan ahead for school closures, parent/teacher conferences, events, etc.
- Plan to attend the orientation or open house before the first day
- Read your parent handbook
Heading to school means you’re going to need to purchase some key supplies for your child that will be used day in and day out for the school year. I’ve identified some staples that you’re going to want to invest in, and I’m linking and mentioning some that I’ve found to be my favorites (after lots of researching and first-hand experience as a classroom teacher!).
Your child is going to need a backpack (unless for some reason your child’s school has other suggestions) to bring things to and from the classroom. My son is 2, so realistically, he probably isn’t going to be carrying the backpack on his own 100% of the time. I was a bit less concerned with the backpack fitting him perfectly than I was finding something that can store his lunch box/lunch bag, a change of clothes, and any projects or papers that might come home from school. The last thing you want to be doing is carrying more than one bag while walking your toddler into school (especially if you have other little ones in tow), and a larger backpack makes it easier for your child’s teacher to help them pack things up when needed (trust me – there is nothing more frustrating than trying to cram a cubby’s worth of stuff into a tiny backpack!). I have found the Pottery Barn Kids backpacks have always been great: they hold up well, have great storage, have pockets on the sides for water bottles, come in a variety of designs, and can be customized to include your child’s name. You won’t need to purchase one of these every year. Advice: skip the pre-k size. It’s really small and is basically designed for snacks and/or a change of clothes. Start with the small size, even for the littles.
If you’re packing lunch for your child, a lunch box is key. There are endless possibilities when it comes to buying a lunch box, but I would say you want to consider the what your preschool or daycare recommends and think about your child before purchasing. (For example, my son’s school really advocates for no plastic wraps, packaging, or plastic bags). At the toddler age, I wanted to find something that is easy to manage (ie: one box to open) but also had dividers so that I could separate the food I pack each day. I looked into the bento box styles, and enthusiastically decided on a Planet Box Rover Box after considering several options. I love that the Planet Box products are non-toxic, BPA and phthalates free, and can also go in the dishwasher or be hand washed. Here are some great lunch ideas if you need them too!
The Rover Box has 5 compartments so I can pack a variety of foods for my toddler and lunch will be similarly presented to how we present food at home (all foods offered at once). Planet Box also offers a slew of accessories (which I love!). We ordered a lunch box bag, a magnet set (just for fun), and a water bottle (which fits in the lunch bag). The Rover Box comes with 2 “dippers,” a “big dipper” and a “little dipper” for wet items like yogurts, hummus, dips, or other foods that you wouldn’t want to pack in the regular lunch box itself. They also offer separate silicone dividers you can purchase too. This is an investment, but I’d rather make that now and not be buying a lunch box every year; I have friends who have had theirs for several years, and they’re still in great shape.
Note: Planet Box lunchboxes do have detachable hinges and latches. They are not intended for use of children under 3 without supervision.
This might not seem intuitive, especially if you’re venturing to preschool or daycare for the first time, but I can almost promise you your child’s school is going to ask you to label everything you send. With multiple children in classrooms and items like water bottles, lunch boxes, changes of clothes, backpacks, etc. being brought to and from home on a daily basis, you need to find a fast and easy way to label your child’s items. I found Inch Bug labels and was eager to order these for my son. We selected the Oribt labels, rectangle labels, mini rectangle labels, and Tagpal labels. Their products are microwave and dishwasher safe, and they don’t fade. You can customize these in any way you like and they have tons of font and color options. They also offer allergy labels, shoe labels, and tons of other amazing products that can be used for home or for school. The company was created by parents trying to make life easier; I think we can all appreciate that!
Invest in a few water bottles and items that are going to be sent to your child’s preschool or daycare each day. You’ll also likely be asked to provide changes of clothing (often more than one, including shoes) so consider purchasing some inexpensive pieces of clothing and an extra pair of cheap shoes to send to school. I would also strongly encourage you not to spend a lot of money on school clothes; teachers expect your child to fully participate in the daily activities. So, assume that everything that gets worn is going to get paint on it or be stained or soiled in some way. Remember, this means your child is delving into all school has to offer – it’s a good thing! Become best friends with Target’s Cat and Jack line, or be sure to keep your eyes peeled in your inbox for Gap and Old Navy’s 40% off sales. Better yet, hit up some local resale shops. I love Perennials (it happens to be right around the corner from my house) and I know lots of moms love Hissyfits too!