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Preschool Must-Haves: What to Pack for Your Child

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Daycare is a place where your child spends a large portion of their day, so it’s important to send them with all the things they’ll need to be comfortable–and will help the daycare teachers and staff keep everything in order among the children.

To make the question 'what to pack for preschool' simpler for working parents, organization and preparation are key. Here are some streamlined strategies:

  1. Pre-Pack Essentials: Designate separate gallon-sized ziplock bags for different needs, such as one for bibs and burp cloths, another for just-in-case items (like disposable diapers, an extra pacifier, bottle, and nipple), one for use-as-needed items (such as teething tablets, sunscreen, and a sunhat), and a final one for extra clothes (including outfits, a onesie, and a jacket).

  2. Choose the Right Bags: Utilize a reusable bag large enough to store all the items, and ensure that everything is neatly organized so it's easy to find and use.

  3. Daily Travel Bag: For the items that need to go back and forth daily, use a backpack for effortless carrying. This backpack should contain:

  4. An insulated bag with ice packs to keep bottles of milk cool.

  5. A wet bag to bring back dirty cloth diapers.

  6. A sippy cup and a lunchbox for meals and snacks.

  7. Bottles of milk alongside a spare nipple and lid.

  8. Cloth diapers, with recommendations such as BumGenius 4.0 Pocket diapers and BumGenius Freetime All in Ones for their convenience and ease of use.

  9. Packing Order: Start by placing the heavier and less frequently needed items like diapers and the wet bag at the bottom of the backpack. Add the insulated bag with bottles next, then top it off with the lunchbox. Close the backpack and slip the sippy cup into one of the side pockets for easy accessibility.

What to pack for preschool - what items should I include in a stay-at-daycare bag for my child?

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When preparing a stay-at-daycare bag for your child, it's important to include all the essentials to ensure your child is comfortable, prepared for any situation, and has a touch of home. Here's a thoughtfully curated list for you:

  1. Diapers: Pack a few disposable diapers, even if your child usually wears cloth diapers, to cover emergencies.

  2. Wipes: A pack of disposable wipes for easy cleanup.

  3. Comfort Item: A favorite stuffed animal or small blanket can comfort your child during nap times.

  4. Extra Clothing: Include an extra set of clothes suitable for cold weather, a onesie, and an outfit for warmer days.

  5. Jacket: Always have a jacket handy to adjust to sudden changes in weather or overly air-conditioned rooms.

  6. Feeding Supplies: Bring an extra bottle and pacifier, even if your child has specific mealtimes, just in case of delays.

  7. Protection from the Sun: A sunhat and a small tube of sunscreen will protect your child during outdoor play.

  8. Health Care: Pack teething tablets if your child is experiencing discomfort due to teething.

  9. Additional Comfort: Include socks to keep your child’s feet warm, bibs, and burp cloths for meal times.

To keep the bag neat and organized, consider using labelled gallon-sized ziplock bags or similar containers for grouping items. For instance, one bag could hold mealtime items like bibs and burp cloths, another can be dedicated to health care needs like teething tablets, a third could contain backup hygiene supplies, and a fourth can store all the extra clothing and a jacket. This organization makes it easy to find what you need quickly and ensures that everything has its place.

What items should I include in a bag that travels back and forth to and from daycare each day for my child?

When preparing your child's daycare bag, there are several essentials to include to ensure they have everything they need for a comfortable, enjoyable day. Here's a detailed guide that combines practical advice with specific recommendations:

Silicone Bibs with Catch Pouch

For the youngest daycare attendees, packing bibs is a no-brainer. But the best kind of bib to send with your child are silicone bibs with a little pouch in front. Not only are these bibs super easy to clean, requiring just a wipe, but they also excel at containing mealtime messes thanks to the food-catching pouch. They can even be used during crafts and activity time!

Washable Name Labels

Labels are crucial. Put a label with your child’s name on everything from bottles and diaper bags to shoes and clothes. Opt for labels that can withstand washing machines and dishwashers for durability. Some companies also offer name stamps, which let you easily stamp your child’s name on fabric items. Remember, if it detaches, label it—this includes bottle necks, bottles themselves, and caps.


Consider clips as the mini workhorses of your home—they seal bags and hold stray hairs. For daycare, choose clips that keep pacifiers, winter gloves, and other easily lost items securely attached to your child.

Bottles & Diapers

Infants require bottles of breast milk or formula. Check with your daycare about whether they prefer the milk thawed or frozen based on their storage options. If using formula, prepare bottles as requested by the daycare, either with just formula or just water, to be mixed later. Label every bottle to avoid mix-ups.

Furthermore, send your child with an insulated bag containing ice packs to keep milk fresh. I recommend using a sturdy, easy-to-clean bag. Pack enough diapers for the day; cloth diapers like BumGenius 4.0 Pocket diapers or BumGenius Freetime All in Ones are excellent choices for ease and comfort.

Extra Clothes

Children inevitably soil their clothes, whether from diaper blowouts, mealtime spills, or muddy play. Pack two or three extra sets of clothes appropriate for the season and daily weather, including an extra pair of shoes. For organization, place these clothes in a separate compartment or a waterproof bag within the daycare bag.

Efficient Packing Tips

Start by placing heavier items like diapers and the wet bag at the bottom of the backpack. Next, add the cooler with bottles in the middle. On top, place the lunchbox and extra clothes, ensuring they are easily accessible. Utilize side pockets for items like sippy cups and bibs for quick retrieval.

By combining these specific items with practical packing tips, you can ensure your child has a well-prepared bag for a day at daycare. This approach not only keeps items organized but also helps daycare staff find what they need quickly.

Start Your Child’s Daycare Education Off Right at Cresthill Academy

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We get it. Choosing a daycare for your child is no easy matter. But when you’ve chosen the daycare center that meets the needs of your family, you can rest assured that your little one—and every blankie and bottle and bib you send with them—is in good hands.

Cresthill Academy is that daycare center for many families throughout New Jersey. Our locations, which include Harrison, Hoboken Uptown, Hoboken Downtown, East Hanover, and Lyndhurst, New Jersey, are convenient and centrally located. As a premier daycare, we offer:

  • A well-balanced and innovative educational curriculum for multiple ages

  • Chef-created, 100% organic meals and snacks

  • A robust enrichment program to introduce children to dance, soccer, sports and more

  • Holistic and chemical-free cleaning approaches to address contaminants, bacteria, and viruses, including COVID-19

To learn more about us, contact Cresthill Academy today and schedule a tour. We’re New Jersey’s visionary child daycare and preschool and offer a variety of daycare programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners.

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