Lots of kids said goodbye to summer and went back to school this month. Toddlers may not be ready for junior high proms or basketball team tryouts, but they may have started down that road by taking their first steps to education: preschool or daycare.
This can be a tricky and emotional time, and not just for our little ones, but for parents as well. But starting daycare or preschool can also be an exciting time and set the tone for your child’s education.
Gear for Daycare and Preschool
One of the fun parts of starting daycare or preschool is that it’s a good excuse to get some new gear.
Here are some must-have items for your preschooler:
A backpack is a great thing for your child to pick out with you and something they’ll probably like wearing. Being able to carry their own stuff (which may include a collection of rocks and grass so best to always check the backpack when it comes home ;)) is a fun step towards independence for lots of little kids.
Try to find a backpack that is big enough to carry her supplies and a water bottle (ones that come with a bottle pouch/pocket are super handy) but not so big that it overwhelms them.
Have fun with it - backpacks come in so many cute designs now that you’re sure to find one that is the colour or theme your child loves.
We love these Skip Hop backpacks that come in a variety of sizes and fun animal designs.
You’ll want to send your kid to preschool or daycare with water every day. Water bottles are another thing that comes in all kinds of designs and sizes. Try to opt for one that will fit into their backpack so they can carry it easily. And most important: make sure it’s spill-proof! Your child may be on their way to school but they’re still prone to spills and messes. Look for bottles that your child can easily open and close without the help of a grown-up.
We have stocked up on these Thermos Funtainers for our three-year-old. They keep drinks nice and cold, are a great size for little hands and have a handy handle for carrying.
Most daycares will ask that you bring a pair of indoor shoes so a dozen muddy feet aren’t leaving tracks across the room.
Indoor shoes that stay at daycare are great because they’ll last longer than ones they wear in and outside.
Soft-soled shoes are perfect for indoor play shoes and extra comfy for your little one.
Try these adorable unicorn shoes from Moonbun! They are anti-slip, have stretchy elastic so they’re easy to get on and off and who doesn’t love unicorns?
If your little guy isn’t big into unicorns, try these warm Little Big Foot snuggly boots. With sizes up to 18 months, these are great for keeping younger kids’ feet warm and toasty.
Most daycares will take kids outside for playtime, come rain or shine. Make sure you have some outdoor clothes handy so your kiddo stays warm and dry on those yucky days.
For rainy days, we love these LONECONE rain boots that come in fun colours and patterns and these one-piece Muddy Buddy suits that go over their clothes for excellent rain and snow coverage.
And don’t forget to bundle up! This adorable Mini Bear Coat is both warm and cute and goes up to a 2T. For even colder, snowy days, try this Warm Winter Snowsuit that comes in a variety of colours and up to 2T.
Even if they’re not officially in school, who says you can’t do a little “Back to School Shopping” before they start daycare or preschool?
Not only will you want to send them in comfortable, easy-care clothes every day but you’ll want to leave some extras at daycare for any accidents or spills.
Tracksuits, like this Black Floral two-piece set, are perfect for running around and having fun (and learning too, of course).
Check out all of the Moonbun Toddler Girl and Toddler Boy clothes for a bunch of options for t-shirts, outfit sets, sweatpants, and other comfy play clothes.
Preparing for Preschool
Before you can get prepared for preschool, you need to decide if your child is ready to start preschool. Some kids are ready and eager to go, others are ready but may be hesitant to do something new and unfamiliar, and others may just not be quite ready. Wherever your child is at, don’t worry. There’s no set-in-stone start date so let your child’s readiness guide you.
A few things to help you decide whether or not your little one is ready for preschool:
Three and diaper-free!
If your child is still using diapers (overnight is okay), they may not be ready to start a preschool program. Preschool teachers aren’t going to change diapers and the expectation is that they are fully potty trained by the time they start.
Social Butterfly (or at least caterpillar)
Your child will be able to get the most out of preschool if they are comfortable. This means it’s best if your child is used to being away from you for short periods and enjoys interacting with other children. If your little one is still used to solo parent-and-me time, getting them into a daycare or joining a playgroup are good ways to ease them into the preschool environment.
What’d you say?
Nobody expects a three-year-old to have perfect diction and a broad vocabulary. Likewise, not all kids are chatterboxes that love the sound of their own voice. Your child should be able to reasonably communicate their needs, though, when they start preschool.
If your child isn’t talking or isn’t picking up what other people are saying, preschool may be a challenge.
Once you’ve decided your child is ready to start preschool, there are a lot of options to consider. It’s a good idea to visit a few preschools and come armed with a list of questions to decide what preschool is right for your family. There are a variety of preschool programs that run different hours, different focuses and styles of curriculum from arts-based programs to outdoor nature programs.
Our little ones leaving the nest for the first time - even if it’s just to daycare - can be a hard adjustment for lots of families. Make sure you take the time to find the centre or school that’s best for your child and to ease them in.