Daycare Essentials for a Smooth Start: What to Pack For Daycare

Posted by Sarah Meyer on


The first day of daycare is a monumental milestone for both parents and their little ones. As you gear up to embark on this exciting new journey, ensuring that you’ve packed all the necessary items can help alleviate any potential stress. In this comprehensive guide, we'll take you through a checklist of daycare essentials you'll want in your diaper bag, from practical necessities to comforting extras.



This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often this is overlooked. The provided daycare packing list may include classroom snacks, wipes, tissues, art supplies, and even some of the items listed below.

 It may not seem like a big deal, but daycare centers go through a lot of supplies, so one parent forgetting an item on the list can leave teachers scrambling for wipes or snacks and can result in some parents bearing the brunt of providing all of the shared daycare supplies.

If you’re unable to bring the listed items, let your daycare provider know as soon as possible so they can figure out a backup plan. With young children, it’s hard for daycare teachers to pop down the hall to grab an extra snack for the class. Even telling them that morning will give them time to grab what they need before the day starts.




When considering what daycare supplies to pack, disposable diapers are pretty much at the top of the list if your baby isn't potty trained. Make certain to pack an ample supply and label them with permanent markers. You’ll also want to keep count of your child's usage throughout the week to avoid any last-minute diaper shortages!

If you're a cloth diapering family, send the extra cloth diapers and plastic bags, as well as instructions on how to use the diaper if necessary and how to get the dirty ones home to you.

Baby Wipes

You’ll also want to stay on top of your child’s wipes. Send a labeled pack of wipes so there aren’t any mixups. It can be easy for teachers in a classroom full of kids to reach for any wipe they can find to clean up a mess – help them out by labeling your pack and to ensure that your pack doesn’t get confused with a shared classroom pack.

Diaper Cream

Diaper rashes can be uncomfortable for your child, so ensure you pack a tube of diaper cream in your daycare bag, just in case. This will keep your baby's skin in tip top shape and keep them comfortable throughout the day.




Pack a lunch for your child that’s healthy and something you know they’ll eat. Opting for a balanced meal will fuel them throughout the day without subjecting them to the rollercoaster of sugary treats that could lead to mid-circle-time crashes. Opt for finger foods and easy-to-eat items. 

Remember to label each container with your child's name to prevent any mix-ups. Extra points for using containers your little one can open by themselves – their teacher will thank you!


And don’t forget to pack any snacks they’ll need during the day or during after school programs. This also includes any shared classroom snacks their teacher may have requested. Make sure to ask if their are any items to avoid bringing in case someone has an allergy (and inform them if your little has an allergy!) Make sure the snacks you send are pre-sliced and pre-prepped so your child’s teacher doesn’t have to spend all snack time chopping food up!

Baby Food

Send any baby food you want your child to eat and let the school know if your child is on a special baby food feeding schedule you’d like them to follow.


While we’re on the subject of food, it’s important to pack any special eating utensils or special dishware your child may need.  Think sippy cups, forks, spoons, bottles etc.

Each child is different and working on different milestones and that means they have different needs when it comes to dishware. A sippy cup that works for one child won’t always work for another. A bottle that one baby is used to can give another child a tummy ache. And the right fork for your child's development can mean the difference between being able to eat their lunch and pushing food all over the table.

Waterproof Bibs

For mealtime messes and artsy activities, a bib is a practical addition that will help keep your child's clothing clean. Opt for a waterproof and easy-to-clean bib for hassle-free cleanup! Silicone bibs are great for sending to daycare because your child’s teacher can quickly rinse it off and use it again later that day.

Breast Milk Or Formula

Send any breast milk or formulas along with any information such as when to feed your child and how to store your breast milk. You may even want to attach a note to your child’s bottle or formula just to be sure. And don't forget to send any baby bottles you want them to use! Consider labeling bottles so it makes it home to you (honestly, consider labeling everything you send to daycare!)



Nap Mat

Daycare centers can be pretty picky about what types of nap mats they’ll accept, and it can differ from place to place. We recommend checking with your child’s school before purchasing a nap mat. 

Crib Sheets, Blanket, and a Pillow

Most daycares have specific guidelines for naptime items. It's typically a good idea to pack a small crib sheet, a lightweight blanket, and a small pillow. Familiar bedding can provide a sense of security and enhance the quality of your child's naptime in an unfamiliar environment.

Comfort Items

A cherished stuffed animal or favorite blankie can offer a sense of familiarity and emotional support in an unfamiliar setting, especially during naptime. Including your child's favorite plush companion can make nap time feel a bit cozier.


If your child relies on a pacifier for soothing to nap time, you're well aware of the panic that ensues when it goes missing. Now imagine that in an environment with higher stimulation that isn’t as familiar for your little one. 

Be sure to inform the teacher if it's only intended for specific times (such as naptime or the first 30 minutes of school when separation anxiety is high). You may even want to send an extra in the case of a misplaced pacifier if your little particularly attached to it.



An Extra Change of Clothes (or Two!)

Accidents are bound to happen. Having an additional set of baby clothes on hand is crucial. 

For those in the midst of potty training, it might be wise to include a couple of extra outfits until they master this milestone! Send it all in a plastic bag so their teacher will have something to put the messy clothes in when they need a change. And don’t forget the little things like and underwear, socks, and an extra pair of shoes. You don’t want your little one walking around in soggy shoes all day!

Medications (if applicable)

If your child requires medication, ensure you provide explicit instructions and the correct dosage to the daycare staff, as well as any medical history you think is relevant. Properly label all medications and ensure their secure storage.

Seasonal Items

It’s also good to take into account what seasonal items your little might need throughout the year (a coat in the winter, sunscreen and a sun hat in the summer etc.) Let their teacher know you packed them, and for things like sunscreen, ask their teacher to apply it. In the rush of getting a full classroom out to the playground, it can be easy to forget to actually grab these extra items that aren't needed every day.

Check with your child’s teacher for any extra items you may need to pack for special days like a swimsuit and towel or a special costume for a theme they’re learning about!


And last but not least, bring any information you want to share with your child’s teacher. This can be anything from recent milestones, a bit about your child’s personality, or even their current obsession with dinosaurs! 

But this also includes any medical conditions, allergies, special needs, or even what kind of morning your little has had so far. This is especially true for younger children who don’t have the verbal capability to share this information themselves. Remember, caring for your child is a team effort between you and your child care provider, and that requires communication!



Filling your diaper bag with these daycare essentials will make for a smooth and comfortable transition and will equip your child with everything they need for a successful start. We hope this list takes some of the guesswork out of what to pack for daycare. Remember that every child is unique, so tailor your packing list to suit your child's specific needs and preferences. With careful planning and thoughtful preparation, your child's first day of daycare will be a positive and memorable experience for both you and your little one!

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment