I still send the girls to daycare two-three days a week so I can get some hustle in on the personal, professional and housekeeping front. This week, my oldest, Harper, was scheduled to move up to the next class and let me tell you guys, she was SO. EXCITED. I normally don’t send them on Mondays, but she kept talking about it all weekend and last night asked (again) if she could go to school today. The biggest change: in her new class, they will no longer take naps. (What’s up early bedtime?!) And while I am so proud of her and excited for her transition to this big girl class, that softy mama side of me is like, My baby! and Just what should I do with your nap mat now?
All of this got me thinking about how she has been in daycare since she was 12 weeks old and how, through the years we have figured out our daycare must-haves. I thought I would share them with you, in case you were looking for some ideas.
1. Nap mat by Urban Infant
Both Harper and Elliot have these nap mats. I love that they have removable pillows, attached blankets, and a hidden pocket on the inside so they can tuck their stuffed animal safely to sleep with them inside. There are elastic straps that attach to the actual mats at school and the whole thing rolls up with the elastic straps, has a carrier handle, and name tag on the outside. We wash them every week and they have held up great.
2. Our favorite blanket from My Blankee
Harper was gifted a minky dot velour My Blankee blanket from friends when she was born. I’ll just say, at three and a half, she still sleeps with it every night. That thing has been everywhere. They are kinda pricey, but we bought one for Ellie when she was born because we all loved Harper’s so much. We have the stroller size and it’s been perfect for both of them.
We went with Name Bubbles for some dishwasher-proof bottle labels for Elliot when she started daycare. I also bought some plain pink iron-on labels with our last name on them and got to work on all of their jackets, hats, bags, and back-up clothes that we send. It seems like there has been a lot of progress made in the last four years with labels. (I fiddled with tape and markers when Harper was little for so long!) These ones from Avery look pretty good too.
4. The best bottle cooler
I randomly bought this one in black on Amazon one night after Elliot upgraded to the 8oz bottles. I loved this one because it held both her bottles and also her food pouches and snacks in the top compartment.
5. A wet/dry bag (Planet Wise)
Not necessarily an essential but a nice-to-have. I had bought this back when I thought I was going to use cloth diapers with Harper. (We did, but only as a newborn.) Happily, the wet-dry bag was great for sending things like bibs to school. I would stash a few in the dry part and the dirty ones would come home in the “wet” side. We’ve also used it in our pool bag.
These lunch bags are amazing and they come in some reeaalllly cute patterns (the buffalo check!). You leave them in the freezer overnight, pack them with lunch goodies in the morning and their food, by lunchtime, is still cold. Because nobody likes a warm string cheese, am I right?
7. The CamelBak Eddy
A dishwasher-safe, spill-proof water bottle is kind of a no-brainer. Again, loads of sweet designs and what I like most is I can buy the replaceable bite valves and straws to swap them out every 3 months or so to keep things fresh.
How about you? Anything you have found that has been a favorite with your kids at daycare? I’d love to hear! (Especially anyone with cold-weather accessory advice. I mean, will you ever see your stuff again?!!!)