If you're anything like us, the summer schedule has completely interrupted your night/morning routine, and you're slightly freaking out about the start of the new school year! While I am definitely not the one to offer advice on night/ morning routines (feel free to share your awesome tips with me,) I do want to share my list of back-to-school must haves for toddlers that make the transition a little bit easier for us mamas!
1. Back-to-School Tote
When Stella first started daycare, I bought her a cute backpack from Pottery Barn Kids that I thought would be great, but quickly learned while cute, it was not the most practical for toting in all of her things every week. I upgraded her bag to a larger tote bag that could hold all of her belongings so that my hands were free to help her up the stairs every day!
The Longchamp Large le Pliage tote is my top pick as its both functional and has a classic look. While it comes with a higher price tag than you may want to pay for a daycare bag, Amazon has an almost exact copy of the bag for only $15!! This bag is waterproof, roomy, sturdy, and even better, has a classic look as opposed to the bright and busy patterns most toddler bags come in!
2. Lunch Box, Water Bottle and Organizers
While you may be one of the lucky ones whose school provides all of the meals and snacks in your tuition, our daycare doesn't, so I have to send all of Stella's snacks and lunch every day! This makes having a lunchbox and organizers key to our daily routine!
Since starting daycare, Stella has used the Classic Lunchbox from Pottery Barn Kids. While we've loved this lunchbox, but I think this year I'm going to try their Dual Compartment Lunchbox as it is a bit more roomy! While I tend to lean more classic in style, I like letting Stella pick her pattern for her lunch bag! We've had a mermaid lunchbox and swan lunchbox, but this year she chose their Mackenzie Aqua Disney Princess bag! We've officially entered into the princess stage in our home and I absolutely LOVE it!!
Almost as important as the bag is the organizer! Pottery Barn Kids has a variety of organizers that fit in their bags, but I found that the best option for us has been a Sistema lunch cube! This box has several compartments that are great for holding a variety of snacks and lunch items!
The final component to a good lunchbox is a trusty water bottle! We've tried a ton of different brands and styles, but my favorite has to be the 14oz. Contigo Autospout Flip Top Bottle! You can find it on Amazon or at Target! It doesn't leak, is easy to use, holds a good amount of water, and is easy to separate to clean!! We have several of this style and love them all!
3. Labels, Labels, Labels
We get a monthly newsletter from our teachers, and the number one thing on the list every month is to "please label all of your child's belongings." With toddlers, everything is theirs, so obviously you can't trust them to always use their own cup or eat from their own lunchbox!
I personally love the label options from Stuck On You! They have a wide variety of styles and colors to choose from! All of their labels are dishwasher safe, too! I used them on all of Stella's bottles when she was an infant, and now on all of her cups, organizers, clothes, and nap mat! That's right! They even have iron-on labels for things like jackets, nap mats, blankets, and lovies that go with your little one to school! Most packages start at $15.00 and include between 15-50 stickers depending on the size/style you choose!
4. Nap Mat
At our daycare they provide the actual foam nap mat and a sheet that covers it for the kids each week, but you are free to bring in your own blanket and lovie for nap time! I bought Stella two nap mat options that we rotate in and out each week so that they can be washed at home!
The first is a Mud Pie Gingham Nap Mat. It is super functional as it features an attached fleece blanket, a removable pillow, rolls up with handles for easy carrying, and has an exterior pocket perfect for a monogram and holding a lovie!
The second is not technically intended as a nap mat as it is not one piece, but it is Stella's favorite nap option! It is a Snuggle Me Sherpa Elephant from Little Miracles! It is a plush elephant wrapped around a white and grey reversible throw. It is extremely soft and the elephant serves as both a pillow and a lovie! It comes in a lot of adorable animal options including a cow, leopard, sheep, dog, duck, and a bunny! While they sell on Amazon from $15-$30 depending on the animal, you can sometimes find them at Costco for only $10!!
While I can't promise you that these items will help make your transition back-to-school a breeze, I can promise that they'll definitely help you feel more prepared which can only help! Best wishes for another great school year!!