Just like when you visit friends, some day-care centres supply everything you need or sometimes you need bring things along with you.
Here are some great tips and insights here for any new mum entering the world of daycare from a lovely friend who has just being through it.
Clothes: Make sure you pack plenty of clothes. The Room Manager asked us to ensure we pack at least the following: a warm jumper, a change of outfit, a sun hat and a sleepsuit. What we decided to do was buy stuff in the sales, so that we wouldn’t feel bad if they stayed in my child’s bag and didn’t get used much, or in case it goes missing. I put each item in a ziplock plastic bag so that it is waterproofed to some degree, and labelled it clearly with my child’s name and the content – this makes it easy for the daycare people to find what they need quickly. They live in her backpack, and if/when they get used, daycare lets me know, and I pop in a fresh set.
Medicines: The other thing our daycare suggested was to supply the regular medicines that my child takes so there would always be a supply on hand. Our child particularly hates the flavour of the cherry panadol syrup, and prefers another brand’s orange taste, so we made sure daycare always has it on hand. In their “medicine bag” is: paracetamol syrup, ibuprofen syrup, sudocream and teething gel. All of it is labelled with their name. NB: this is not kept in her backpack! Daycare keeps it in the meds cupboard. We have had to give written authorisation for all medicines, including over the counter. We have told them that they can use the panadol, etc. at their discretion, but if you prefer, they will call you before administering anything.
Lunchbox: Daycare specifically asked us to supply bibs and the drinking vessels that our daughter likes to use (in our case, bottles for milk, and sippy-cups forwater). I just brought in two of each, brand new but washed. Daycare labels them with her name, but they keep them there and wash and sterilise them for all the kids in one go. Lunchboxes and bags are not strictly necessary, as daycare supplies food. However, you may wish to buy a lunchbox if you want to bring things in. They are also useful for the days you aren’t in daycare. Shops like Daiso do great little Bento boxes, cute foodpicks (for older kids), and odd-but-cute things like egg-shapers, or stamps to cut food into shapes. They even have fun water bottle toppers, etc. Japan is very big on cute lunches for kids, apparently! Other brands that are good for lunchboxes include Penny Scallan, Skip Hop and Nude Food Movers. But I am sure there are loads of other brands out there and this just shares a few that I know of. One other thing I frequently use to separate foods in my child’s lunchbox are the silicone cupcake cases. They are washable, and can be used to separate fruit from sandwiches, etc. I got this idea from one of the many bento blogs out there. kids lunchboxes As an important aside, you need to think about snacks for the way home if you have a bit of a journey, especially if you pick your child up close to their normal dinner time. What we do is I keep a snack (such as crackers) in my handbag for the way home. The day gets stretched out a bit for your child when you are working, so by the time you all get home, there is a lot to squeeze in in a shorter space of time. i.e. you need to get dinner ready (for the whole family), the bathtime routine, when there is a high chance your child is already quite tired, so you will be pushed for time. Organisation is key here. I have something ready in advance for my child’s dinner, so that it is ready within a minute or two when we get in the door. Later, when the whole family is eating the same thing, I will cook extra on days off and freeze it. My mum does things like make the evening’s salad while making breakfast, chop the vegetables for a stirfry in the morning, get out the rice cooker, and have the rice measured. There are many forward planning tips like these which you can implement to minimise the time between arriving home and having a family meal ready on the table. Additionally, the kids get a hot meal at daycare most days, so I don’t think we need to feel guilty if they sometimes only get a toasted sandwich or a salad for dinner!
Schoolbag/ Backpack: A good bag or backpack is essential. . One thing – at our daycare, bags are hung on a child’s named peg outside their classroom. When I did a tour of the daycare, I saw that so many of the bags were identical (no doubt by accident) – stars for boys, owls for girls! So much potential for lost/swapped bags! I purposely chose one that was a bit different than the ones I saw at daycare. But other ideas would be to put a bright iron-on patch on the bag so it is easy to identify, or perhaps hang a small toy from the zipper. Some brands that are good include Kimmi Jr., Skip Hop and Penny Scallan.
Labels: We used a laundry marker for some things, such as medicines, and to mark the ziplock bags with their contents. I didn’t bother marking her clothes and things, though – that’s why I purchased sale items. You can also buy iron-on labels printed with your child’s name if you worry about items going missing. You can by a label maker in the supermarket, too, but it only does stick-on labels.
The List: As each daycare is different this aim to covers most scenarios and you can then cull this down once you know what your chosen daycare supplies. Here is Mamma_Raj_Childcare_Preparation_List
Enjoy this new phase in your lives! Missed anything you would suggest for daycare? Let us know?