As August approached this year, I started to feel that feeling we all remember, school is coming. For some, that brings joy as we remember what it was like to go shopping for new pens and notebooks. It can also brings a sense of anxiety if being in school was never your thing. For this first-time mama, it brought back memories of both, but also a new core memory was created. I was going to be taking my daughter to daycare for the first time. So, as I’m a first-time mom, amid a chaotic world, I put together my top five daycare tips for any others who can relate to dropping their child off for the first time with a non-relative. Here we go!
Tip 1| Bring a change of clothes
I’ll be honest, it took me much longer to pick this outfit for Lucy than I’d like to admit. I knew this outfit was going to be staying at daycare so I didn’t want it to be one of my favorites. But aren’t all of her clothes my favorite?! I ended up choosing a dress. She’s outside all day, so a dress will be flowy for those hot days. Try not to spend as much time as I did in trying to figure it out. Your child will most likely end up needing that change sooner or later and that outfit will be home before you know it. (Yes, Lucy has already needed a new outfit. Blow-outs, am I right?!)
Daycare Tip| Most places will ask you to bring a change of clothes. Make it simple for the provider to change clothes.
Tip 2| Nap Time Comfort
Lucy still has a pacifier and her blanket when she goes to bed at home. In doing so, we bought another pacifier and blanket that can stay at daycare. We found that this helps her in the morning to put her home pacifier back in her crib; it does not leave her room. We also wanted to make sure that she felt comfortable going to sleep in a new environment with other kids around her. Your child may not need items for nap time and that’s okay! We have learned that Lucy does not use the pacifier or blanket at nap time. We’ll see if this mama is ready for that change at home.
Daycare Tip| It’s okay to bring items that are of comfort for your child. It’s also okay if they don’t need any!
Tip 3| Pickup with Backpack and Water
Our daycare is all outside right now which means Lucy is living her best life. It also means that she may need water when I pick her up. I make sure to have that ready to go when she gets in the car. It also helps to keep her distracted while I’m buckling her in. The backpack acts as a diaper bag and has diapers and wipes in it and stays in my car. We all know that kids will at some point leave daycare with a dirty diaper as you go to buckle them in. Instead of handing Lucy back to the teacher where she will scream, I am all set with supplies to do a quick change in my car.
Daycare Tip| The backpack/diaper bag will continue to keep you ready for whatever your little one needs.
Tip 4| Drop off Together
If you’re able, I would highly encourage you and your partner to do the first-time drop-off together. Perhaps your partner will be doing most of the pick-ups and/or drop-offs. That’s okay! If you go together the first time, you’ll be able to experience that together on how to do it and what it looks like. Most likely, the pick-up and drop-off are in the same location. You’ll know where everything is and how the process goes. You’ll also have that support as you leave after handing your child off. It feels immensely weird and all of the mom-guilt feelings may come up. Receiving that hug as you get in your car from your partner is going to help a little.
Daycare Tip| Doing drop off together may help your little one trust the process a little more because they trust both of you!
Tip 5| Take the Photo
I don’t care what it looks like for you. It doesn’t have to be all Instagram perfect. Just take the photo. It’s a moment you’ll always remember and if you’re like me, you will always scroll back through and remember that day and all of the emotions that come with August.
Daycare Tip| Breathe mama. It will be okay.
I know that finding a daycare can be hard. Many remain full with a waitlist and you want to be sure you find care that meets the needs of your child. If you’re still looking, check out Great Start to Quality to begin your journey. It’s where we found our daycare and I am so grateful!