Toddler Day Care Essentials by Top US Mom Blog Dreaming Loud
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Toddler Daycare Essentials: What to Pack for Your Toddler Each Day

Today I am sharing our Toddler Daycare Essentials; these are the things I bought and packed for my toddler.  Toddler Day Care Essentials by Top US Mom Blog Dreaming Loud

Putting your toddler or baby in daycare is a huge step in parenthood. As a new parent, it may be the first time you’ll be separated from your baby. This means that thinking about all the daycare essentials you need to bring to daycare will probably be the last thing on your mind.

One of the questions I asked while touring daycares was what I needed to pack and send with him every day. Surprisingly the lists were all very similar, with a few differences in how food is handled in that particular daycare.  Otherwise, it sounds like all toddlers need the same things for daycare.

Today, I’m sharing our daycare essentials, including items we dropped off on the first day, things we send daily, and items we send weekly. Your needs might vary depending on your daycare, so it’s best to talk to the teacher and get a list from them. This post will make shopping for these items easier and will give you an idea of questions to ask during the daycare visit. 

UpdateWhen we switched V to a Montessori school, they gave us an insulated lunch bag to send the lunch box and a small bag to carry everyday essentials like a change of clothes or socks as needed. 

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Toddler Daycare Essentials

Toddler Daycare Essentials: What to Pack for Your Baby Each Day

Toddler Daycare Essentials_ What to Pack for Your Baby Each Day

Toddler Daycare Essentials- Things to Drop Off on or Before Toddler’s First Day 

1. Diapers-  We left a big bag of diapers that will be sufficient for a month or so. I also packed weekly supplies of diapers in different bags cause the center keeps the weekly supply in one place and the bulk supply in a different place. So, when they run out of the weekly supply, they can re-fill the bag from the bulk. Also, the teacher will notify you in the app when they’re running low on supplies. If your toddler is getting potty trained, then you might be asked to leave some training underwear. 

Add a label and write your child’s name on the bag. If your child is potty trained, then send in extra underwear instead of diapers.

2. Wet Wipes- Similar to diapers, we left a month’s supply of wet wipes. Don’t forget to label these as well with your child’s name. If your toddler is potty trained, skip this step!

3. Lotion and Diaper Cream- We left a tube of diaper cream and Moisturizer with the daycare. Label the tube with the child’s name. V’s skin gets dry easily and is prone to eczema, so I also left a bottle of Tubby Todd all-over ointment. If your toddler is potty trained, skip this step!

4. Change of clothes-  This one is important since kids have accidents, get messy, and generally just need extra clothes. Include a pair of socks with the clothes. If they are potty trained, include a pair of undied. Please place them in a plastic Ziploc bag and label them.

5. Crib Sheets /Nap Mat– Daycares provide small cots for each child, and parents have the option to send either crib sheets or nap mat. We prefer to send a nap mat since it includes padding, a blanket, and an attached pillow. We send the nap mat with our toddler on Mondays and bring it home on Fridays to wash.

If nap mats are not allowed, you can add a soft muslin blanket along with the crib sheets. If your child is used to a lovey a stuffed animal, or a binky leave an extra one at the daycare.

6. Seasonal Outside gear– We left a tube of sunscreen (I also included a beauty blender for easy application), a sunhat, and bug spray at the center. Place all of these in one Ziploc bag labeled Outside Play Time and name. In winter, I pack a pair of pair of mittens.

Note– V now goes to Montessori and they don’t apply any creams including sunscreen without a doctor’s prescription. Check with the teacher, if you can send sunscreen before packing one. We apply sunscreen on him before leaving for school. 

7. Dry Snacks- V’s daycare asked us to provide some dry snacks, so when he doesn’t eat any of his meals or snacks I pack for him, they offer the dry snacks as an alternative. We left a bag of these cheddar bunnies, puffs

Toddler Day Care Essentials

Toddler Daycare Essentials- Things to Send Weekly

The teachers send the nap mat home every Friday, and I return a clean one on Monday. Additionally, the teacher will notify you when more diapers, wet wipes, or snacks are needed.

  • Crib Sheet + blanket / Nap mat
  • Change of clothes if needed
  • Refill diapers, wet wipes, and dry snacks if needed

Toddler Daycare Essentials_ What to Pack for Your Baby Each Day

Things to Bring Daily

1. Bag– An easy-to-carry bag to go back and forth every day. I got this Dabbawalla backpack for him; it comes with a harness, so we can also use it when we go on walks. A wet bag to send wet clothes or underwear.

Note– The Montessori V goes now they gave a bag for him to carry every day so we n longer use the backpack.

2. Lunch Bag- This is required if you are packing lunch and snacks for the little one. I got this Bentgo lunch bag. I highly recommend getting a lunch bag with a bottle holder, so everything is in one place.

3. Water cup-  I pack the green sprout straw cup that he is used to drinking at home. It’s leakproof! Label the bottle and the lid with the child’s name.

Update– We switched to the Hydroflask bottle for water once he turned 2!

Toddler daycare Essentials -Lunch box ideas by top US Mom Blogger Dreaming Loud
Toddler daycare Essentials -Lunch box ideas by top US Mom Blogger Dreaming Loud
How to Keep School lunch Warm for Lunchtime And Best Lunchboxes for School by Top US MoM Blog Dreaming Loud

4. Lunchbox-  Some daycares provide lunch, but the one V goes to doesn’t, so I pack lunch and snacks daily. I prefer to pack lunch, AM snacks, and PM snacks in separate boxes so the teacher knows exactly what to feed him for the meal. Don’t forget to label the boxes; the label I linked is waterproof and doesn’t come off even after washing.

Check this post for Tips on How to keep School Lunch Hot

I got the above two steel lunch boxes. Both of them are dishwasher safe. The first Bento box is big for a 11/2 year old, but it’s leak-resistant, and I love the small removable silicon container, which is great for packing yogurt. Everything in the box stays in place since each compartment is sealed. I prefer boxes with larger and fewer compartments for the food I pack, so this box was a good choice.

The second Bento box is the ideal size lunch box for him. But it’s not sealed, so when I want to pack yogurt, I use the smallest box in this set. You can see that in the above pic. This is our most preferred lunch box along with the insulated food container below.

The third is an insulated Food Container, read more about how I use it to keep lunch warm until lunchtime and avoid using microwaves.

I use these stainless steel silverware

How to Keep School lunch Warm for Lunchtime And Best Lunch Boxes for School- Toddler Snack box ideas by top US Mom Blogger Dreaming Loud

Toddler Daycare Essentials-Snack Steel box
Toddler Daycare Essentials-Smoothie bottle

5.  Snacks–  This also depends on your center.  Some will want you to provide snacks, and others will provide snacks for you.  For V, I pack both AM and PM snacks; they also offer him some of the dry snacks that we left at the daycare.

For AM snacks- I mostly pack a smoothie that I make with leftover breakfast (this iron-rich ragi smoothie with leftover ragi porridge or oatmeal or make one with just berries (I have a ton of smoothie recipes on my IG profile highlights) in this stainless steel straw cup or fruits.

For PM snacks, I do a mix of fruits, cheese, and bread with almond butter (only nut allowed at his daycare) or ricotta cheese or a boiled egg, etc. I use these silicon muffin liners to separate them and pack them in this stainless box.

Miscellaneous things you need

Waterproof labels– You have to label everything you are sending to the daycare except for your baby 😀 I use these waterproof labels since it has an additional row to add comments. You can also get a customized name label like these and these

In the next post, I will share a week of lunch box ideas.

Shop The Post

DayCare Essentials 

Outfit #1– Children’s Place tee couldn’t find online | Pants | Shoes | backpack

Outfit #2Shirt | Shorts  | Lunchbag

Outfit #3Ikkat set | Crocs | backpack


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