Is your toddler starting preschool in the fall? This is such an exciting time for them! They’ll meet new friends, learn the alphabet, work on fun art projects, and get exposed to new books, toys, and rules of behavior. They will also get comfortable to being away from Mom and Dad, if they haven’t already. Get your child ready for this new, fun experience with these 5 essential items.
1. Toddler-Sized Backpack
You’ll need to carry some items to preschool every day so a backpack that is sized just right for your toddler is a must. Look for a backpack that is lightweight, not too big, easy to open and close, and machine washable. In general, the ideal size for a toddler is about 12 or 13 inches tall. You want it big enough to hold a blanket, a favorite toy, and maybe a change of clothes. Look for adjustable straps too so they can continue to use it as they grow. You should be able to get at least 2 years out of your backpack. If that’s the case, steer clear of cartoon characters on the backpack. Kids change their favorites so quickly.
You’ll want to get your child’s name on the backpack somewhere so it doesn’t get mistakenly picked up by another child. You can get their name embroidered on the outside of the bag which kids love. Or if that makes you nervous that a stranger could see your child’s name, use their initials or just put a label inside the backpack. Read my post How to Buy the Perfect Kids Backpack for more considerations.
2. Snack/ Lunch Bags
If you need to provide lunch or a snack for your child, you’ll need an insulated snack or lunch bag. Look for one that is lead, BPA and phthalate free. Make sure it is large enough to hold what you need. Read my post on How to Buy the Perfect Kids Lunch Box to help you make your decision.
3. Water Bottle
Your preschool may require that your child bring a water bottle, as well as a lunch box or snack bag. For a toddler make sure the bottle has a flip top or is really easy to open. Little fingers may get frustrated with screw tops. I like aluminum or stainless steel water bottles for my kids so I don’t have to worry about lead, BPA, or any other chemical leaching into their drink. However, there are plenty of safe and eco-friendly plastic water bottles out there. Check the label to make sure they meet all U.S. safety standards. Write your child’s name on the outside of the bottle with a permanent marker.
4. Toddler Nap Mats
Depending on the hours for your child’s preschool, they will probably have a nap time or quiet time where your child may need a blanket and pillow. There are all kinds of nap mats on the market with pillows, blankets, padding and even stuffed animals built in. Some even have straps so your child can carry their nap mat on their back. Most likely you’ll leave the nap mats at the preschool all week and take them home on the weekend to wash. Make sure your nap mats or blankets are easy to machine wash. To make sure it doesn’t get lost, personalize the blankets with your child’s name or use a label.
5. “Lovey” Item
If your preschool allows it, send them off with a lovey, (a favorite toy, stuffed animal or photo book), to help him or her snooze, calm first-day jitters, or show off the family at school.
What “lovey” item does your child take to pre-school or day care?