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Staying Organized at Daycare

by Meghann on May 9, 2017

This post is sponsored by Brother.

Any parent who has ever had a child in daycare knows how easily things go missing. We’ve lost bottle tops and sippy cups, clothes and shoes. Our daughter Annalynn has come home with gear that wasn’t hers, and I know her stuff has gone home with other kids. I was warned this would happen going into it, but man is it a wakeup call when you’re actually in it. Of course, this is in no way meant to fault the daycare or the teachers, it’s just what happens.  I can only imagine how crazy it is to keep track of that many kids and all of the stuff that goes with them. I lose stuff with just one kid at home – it happens.  So my goal as a parent is to make it as easy as possible to keep track of my kid’s gear.

Here’s how I’ve learned to make it work:

I only send stuff to daycare we can live without or is easily replaced.

Annalynn has a dedicated drawer at daycare that holds her blanket, spare clothes, extra pacifiers, etc. The spare clothes are there in case there’s an accident or something happens to what she’s wearing. It’s rare that she needs to use them and there have been times that outfits will stay in there for months without being used. In most cases she usually outgrows them before she needs them. Often times those clothes will get lost in the shuffle and we never see them again. Because of this, I only send spare clothes that we have no attachment to. The spare clothes tend to be random clothing that were hand me downs or permanently stained.  If we don’t see them again – no biggie.

Have extras of everything.

When we first started sending Annalynn to daycare with bottles, I only had the exact amount of nipples, tops, and bottles that she needed for each day. Then one day she came home without a bottle’s top and I panicked. I had to run out to the store that night and replace it so we would have enough for the next day. After that I doubled up on all of our bottle supplies. She probably comes home with something missing every two or three months, but there is no more panicking and no more late-night runs to the store.

Label Everything

My husband loves to make fun of me because I now label everything. Trust me, I didn’t start out this way, but I’ve slowly evolved into the mom that marks her daughter’s initials on every diaper cover and bib. True story.

I recently started using the Brother P-touch PT D210 label maker and it has been a true game changer for my labeling obsession. Writing with a marker eventually wears off and ordering custom labels can get pricey, but P-Touch TZe labels are durable and they stay put. They’re also water-resistant, fade-resistant, and temperature resistant.  Plus, the P-touch D210 offers lots of ways to personalize your labels: 14 fonts, 97 frames, and more than 600 symbols.

When the P-touch arrived, I legit spent over an hour playing with everything it can do. I mixed and matched all of the fonts, symbols, and borders until I found the combination that worked best for our needs.

Replacing the P-touch TZe tape is simple, and there’s a wide variety of tape colors to choose from.

The berry pink tape with white text was my ultimate favorite. It has great contrast and is really eye-catching.

Yep, as you can see, I went a little crazy, but sometimes you need to be a little crazy as a mom.

The P-touch PT-D210 is available for purchase at Staples.

How do you stay organized for daycare?

1 Amanda May 9, 2017 at 8:39 am

How do these labels hold up in the dishwasher? I’ve been needing some more labels for my boys, but have hesitated bc they are so pricey.

2 Meghann May 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm

I’ve had these on for a month now and so far, so good. I’ve only used them on items that go on the top rack, though. 🙂

3 Jill May 9, 2017 at 11:19 am

We have one in daycare and one in kindergarten (still need to label), so I appreciated this post! I usually buy labels, but you’re right, they are super pricey, and this year the ones I got were so tiny, I guess I didn’t realize what I was ordering. A label maker is a wonderful idea. How do the labels hold up on fabric (like the backpack, clothes, mittens, coats, etc)?

4 Amanda May 9, 2017 at 2:21 pm

That reminds me of when I was in first grade and my mom labeled EVERYTHING of mine, including every individual crayon! Then at the end of the year I donated all my crayons to the classroom. People always joked that everyone knew which ones I donated haha!

5 Linda @ the Fitty May 9, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Do you use a Mommy planner (I think there’s such thing?)
Linda @ the Fitty recently posted..SWAG I GOT At the Toronto Yoga Show and Green Living Show 2017!

6 Caroline May 9, 2017 at 9:17 pm

Great tips! I’m a long time fan of label makers, but I haven’t used mine since college for whatever reason–great idea to use it for daycare items! I like that it seems like the tape sticks well to a variety of materials.

7 Audrey May 9, 2017 at 9:40 pm

It seems a little OCD, but honestly I don’t blame you! It would be frustrating to lose things all the time at daycare. I’ll probably do the same when I have kids!

8 Jane May 9, 2017 at 10:46 pm

I think it’s a really good idea, and the labels are cute! The only thing I’d say is maybe consider putting the name label on her backpack on the inside? We’ve had cases where I live where kids have run into danger because their names were displayed really prominently on their bags and strangers were able to approach them by name. It’s probably fine, but just wanted to mention it – sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry! 🙂

9 Rachael May 10, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Oh man, I used to work at a daycare and I would kiss your feet if I saw this bag of labeled items come through the door. It was so frustrating losing track of who’s things were who’s when there were so many children with so many items! It especially helps when supply teachers are in, because how are they supposed to know who’s cup is who’s if they’re not labeled properly. Daycare teachers have such a fast paced day, anything like this is super, super helpful for them! I used to label unlabeled items with a permanent marker. So either way, it’s getting marked up.. this way is much cuter 🙂 Labeling sunscreen and diaper cream is very important because certain children may have sensitive skin or contact allergies. Even if your child doesn’t it’s very thoughtful to label your own so that they don’t get applied to someone else’s child by accident!

On behalf of your daycare teachers, thank you!! 🙂

Also, major props for resigning yourself to occasionally losing some items.. we tried our very very best but sometimes little fingers pack their own bags and items disappear! 🙂

10 Julie May 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Omg, sending my LO to day care in a week and I need so much advice – didnyou buy Anna Lynn and backpack for her stuff from the get go? How did you pack her stuff for the day plus bottles? Did you have to change her morning wake up to get her there on time?

11 Katie May 16, 2017 at 8:42 am

I’ve been reading your blog forever!! We just started daycare the beginning of May, although he’s 17 months now. I’ve been labeling everything with a sharpie but I might have to get this. Any chance you could do a post on what food you send with Annalynn?

12 Lacey May 23, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Mine runs through batteries so quickly! I hope they’ve improved since 2014.

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