Is your toddler ready to start daycare? What will they need to wear to preschool and which types of gear should you send in with your child? Before you shop for the first day of school, take a look at the dos and don'ts of outfitting your toddler for their first daycare experience.
Do Talk to the Teacher
Start with your child's new teacher. Not only is the early childhood educator knowledgeable about what toddlers need for school in general, but they can also provide you with class-specific ideas. These could include school supplies, additional clothing (such as an art smock, bathing suit in the summer, or snow pants in the winter), hygiene items, or comfort items/loveys from home.
Don't Invest In Dressy Clothes
While it's tempting to dress your toddler in high style for their first few days of preschool, childcare center activities can get messy. Pricey, fancy button-downs, dresses, and other similar clothing won't stand up to finger painting, clay play, and outdoor games. Not only could your child's new daily activity schedule damage these delicate items, but your child also won't feel completely comfortable in a shirt with a starched collar, neatly pleated dress pants, or a fitted dress.
Instead of dressy clothes, choose easy-to-wear options that feature an elastic waist (this can make self-care and using the restroom/diaper changes less complicated), soft fabrics, snaps (not buttons), and washable materials.
Do Buy A Backpack
Even though your toddler won't need to tote textbooks back and forth between home and school, they may need to bring a few items with them. Select a smaller-sized pack that is manageable for your toddler. If possible, choose a waterproof material that will stand up to spills and the occasional rainy or snowy day.
Allow your toddler to pick the backpack themselves or gently guide their decision-making process. This gives your child a sense of ownership and independence. A personalized pack with your child's name or initials is an easy way to make sure that no one else takes their bag home for the night. If you can't find a personalized backpack, add a name label to the inside flap.
Don't Forget About Footwear
What type of shoes should your toddler wear to a childcare program? Again, dressy items aren't the best fit for the preschool setting. Tennis shoes or similar rubber-soled shoes will provide the comfort and support your child needs. Make sure the shoes have non-slip bottoms. This can reduce the risk of a slip and fall. Velcro or other similar closures will make it easier for your child to take their shoes off and put them on during their day in care.
Contact a local childcare center to learn more.