Preparing for the 1st Day of Daycare

Whether it’s your first baby or not, saying goodbye to your little one and handing them over for the first time is tough tough tough. You’ll probably cry. If you’re like me, you won’t even make it out of the daycare before the tears flow. 

1st day of daycare

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I was very luck to be able to stay home with Andrew for 6 months before heading back to work. We decided to send him to daycare at 5 months old, so that everyone could slowly get used to our new rhythm (mostly me).

preparing for 1 day of daycare

Here are some things that I did to help with those first few days of daycare:

Prep before the big day

Have a meeting with the people in your daycare who will actually be taking care of your little one. Make sure the feeding and nap schedules are clear with the team. Ask any questions you have to make sure you’re comfortable with how the first day will go.

Make a schedule with the daycare of when your baby will be there. We decided to have an acclimation period of 2 weeks. The first day he was there for about an hour, the second day, 2 hours, etc. By the end of the 2 weeks, we were all comfortable with him eating, napping, and hanging out at the daycare for longer days to match my work schedule.

Pack everything in advance. Our daycare gave us a helpful list of things to bring in:

  • extra clothes
  • extra pairs of socks
  • any shoes or indoor slippers
  • depending on the weather, a jacket or sweatshirt or a sunhat
  • extra pacifiers
  • a small stuffed animal (a lovey or “doudou” in French)
  • any medicine
  • diapers
  • formula or a cooler for milk (grab that at the last minute before you leave)
  • something that smells like you to help with naptime — Andrew loves these swaddle blankets from Aden + Anais. I slept with one the night before so that it smelled like me. These are made from bamboo fibers, so they’re super soft! You can find them online at Amazon or at Target.

aden + anais swaddle blanket

Write your child’s name or initials in the clothes. No matter how organized the daycare is, with multiple kids getting changed all day, clothes will occasionally get lost. Side note, we’ve always gotten Andrew’s clothes back at some point!

The big day

Getting used to not seeing your baby all day, every day is difficult. Have a plan for distracting yourself once you drop off your baby. Go to a nice coffee shop, treat yourself to a manicure, or sit right outside the daycare and scroll through Facebook.  It was easier for me when I had a fun and easy to do list.

Take a picture of your baby! Whether it’s a quick picture on the way out the door, or you have a sign and decorations, you’ll want to remember this day.

preparing for 1 day of daycare

My little guy’s been in daycare for almost a year now, and we’re so thrilled with how he’s thriving there. A big bonus: we get these cute pictures of him playing during the day and some really fun arts and crafts to take home. It’s clear he’s having a great time. Good luck with your new rhythm and the transition!

preparing for 1 day of daycarepreparing for 1 day of daycare

How did you cope with dropping off you baby at daycare? What did they ask you to bring in? What has been your favorite arts and crafts project from daycare?

Preparing for the 1st day of Daycare


22 thoughts on “Preparing for the 1st Day of Daycare

  1. Mimi

    I was a stay at home mom for all of my kids, but with my last one, I had to go back to work when he was 3 yrs old. We brought him to stay with a friend from church, so that made the transition easier. It was still hard for me to not spend time with him all day, every day. I love that you get photos from your daycare provider!

  2. Allison

    Amazing tips! I haven’t put my little one in day care, but I know in the future I may have to put him in preschool to get some work done 🙂 I am saving this for that time.

  3. Melanie

    My husband stayed home with our son when I went back to work. But I really wanted him to socialize with other children. He stated preschool at 2 and he also thrived. I.know it was harder on hubby, but it was great for our kid.

  4. Terri Steffes

    You did it! Your little one is adorable and so sweet. I only had to bring in Ashley and her clothing. All foods and diapers were provided. However I had a mountain of paperwork. I loved her handprint art work the most!

  5. Foodie Finds Home

    The first day of daycare with all of my kids have been the hardest, the list have varied between countries, and states, but usually have all things similar to your lists. My favorite arts and crafts projects have always been something that has little fingers or toes on it. It’s so much fun to look back and see those tiny hands or feet.

  6. Caitlin + Dani

    You’re little one is absolutely a-doll-able! We can understand that it must be an experience preparing for the first day of daycare… Just think of how exciting “firsts” are and how many more there are to come! XO

  7. krystal

    It’s always a scary thought dropping them off for daycare, but when you feel it is right… it is right! I felt uncomfortable at the first school I toured so I am glad I listened to my instinct.

  8. CourtneyLynne

    The first day away is always tough!!!! I ended up putting my daughter in school at 18 mo so I could work from home full time and it was seriously one tough day that’s for sure

  9. Brittany

    I love this!! The first day is always so hard! I cried and cried after I got into the car. I will definitely send this to my friends that are about to start doing it too!

  10. Debra

    The first day of everything is so hard, I thought kindergarten was rough too and my oldest even went to jr. high this year and that was hard.

  11. Megan mccoig

    I’m not a parent myself but I can imagine this being so hard. I still remember stories of my mum telling me when she dropped me and it breaks my heart a little knowing I’d cry for her to come back!

  12. Savannah

    What a great post! I have a little Andrew myself, and I know that it must be so difficult to drop your little guy off on that very first day. Thankfully, I’m still able to stay home with my guy, but a period in time will come when I will face similar circumstances. Watching our kiddos grow up, and learn to live apart from us is tough on the heartstrings! Thanks for sharing <3


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