Having your little one by your side all day long and spending time together is precious. But once your maternity leave ends and your child is old enough, it might be time for daycare if both parents work full-time and there’s no one to look after her. It is important to prepare yourself and your toddler for daycare because it’s a highly emotional time for everybody in the family, especially now with the global pandemic.
You might feel overwhelmed with the anxiety and health concerns on the one hand and preparation of all the required daycare items on the other. If this is your first time preparing a toddler for the daycare, your head might be spinning with everything you need to handle, from choosing the right toddler daycare shoes to how many pairs of underwear to pack. You are not alone in this and we will explain everything you need to know about choosing daycare shoes and preparing your kid for daycare Covid reopening.
What you will read in this guide:
- Why is It Important to Wear Shoes in the Daycare?
- Cleaning & Hygiene
- What Makes a Good Toddler Daycare Shoe?
- Preparing for Daycare: Covid-19 Reopening
Why is It Important to Wear Shoes in the Daycare?
Most daycare facilities and preschools have an outdoor play area for toddlers to develop their skills and keep them physically active. Even though each facility might have different rules, the majority of them require children to wear shoes whether they are indoors or outdoors. There are a few quite good reasons for this requirement.
The first and most obvious one is protection of the kids’ feet. Imagine several active toddlers mingling together with the toys on the floor or running around in the outdoor playground. Even with the caregivers and teachers looking after them, it’s a matter of one second that an accident can happen injuring your kid’s foot. Whether it’s simply stepping on a toy or another kid dropping an object on to your child’s toes, wearing shoes in the daycare will help protect their feet.
On the other hand, you might have heard that some states such as California have certain child care facility regulations in place requiring kids sleep with the shoes on. Yes, you heard it right. Most parents are baffled by this sleeping with the shoes rule. Think about an emergency situation while the kids are asleep. The teachers or caregivers have to evacuate the building and take out all the kids as soon as possible. If the kids were sleeping without shoes, caregivers don’t really have the luxury of looking for the shoes and putting them on. Chances are, they will decide to take the kids without the shoes in order to evacuate faster. This means that your child will be outside bare feet, wide open to injuries or getting cold during the winter time. Hence, wearing shoes actually proves helpful in cases of emergencies even though sleeping in them sounds horrible at first.
Cleaning & Hygiene
Toddlers are curious, highly energetic, and learn by doing and playing. This includes getting dirty a lot and fast! If your daycare is asking for a pair of indoor shoes or slippers, it is to keep the rooms clean and provide a healthy environment for your child. Nobody would want their child to crawl or sit on a floor soiled with germs on shoes in daycare.
What Makes a Good Toddler Daycare Shoe?
Finding the right shoes is crucial for your child’s feet health and comfort at the daycare. Although some centers might have different requirements, there are certain characteristics that you should look for while choosing toddler daycare shoes:
- Choose Flexible, Non-Skid Soles: Hard sole shoes might affect your child’s foot growth as the bones, muscles, and tendons are not fully developed yet. Non-skid, flexible soft sole shoes can help them feel and grip the surfaces better and improve balance.
- Avoid Open Toe/Backless Shoes: Most daycare centers recommend avoiding open toe or backless shoes such as sandals and flip-flops because they are more likely to slip off while the kids are running, doing physical activities, or even just walking. Their toes will be open to injuries and your toddler might trip or fall because of slippery shoes.
- Get the Right Size: Yes, toddlers’ feet grow fast and hence measuring your kid’s feet regularly is important. Shoes that are too small or too big are not only bad for your kid’s foot development but also can cause falling or tripping.
- Get Easy to Put On/Off Shoes: Shoes that are easy to put on or off are the best choices for daycare. It is both for the comfort of your child and also to make it easy for the teacher or caregivers. Consider getting slip-on shoes or shoes with velcro straps that are easy enough for your child to put them on or off unassisted. Stay away from laces as toddlers can’t tie shoes yet. Plus, an untied lace is a danger for your child’s safety.
- Look for Breathable Shoes: Toddlers are highly active which makes their feet sweaty easily. Considering that most daycare centers require wearing shoes almost all day long. Avoid shoes with unnatural, synthetic inner lining. Look for breathable footwear such as canvas or fabric shoes or shoes with cotton inner lining.
Preparing for Daycare: Covid-19 Reopening
Starting going to daycare is already a big change for toddlers. It is even more challenging with the global pandemic and new Covid-19 rules and regulations at the child care centers. Whether your child is going to the daycare for the first time or going back after the lockdown, you need to prepare your child both for separation and Covid-19 related anxiety. It is important to discuss and explore all of their emotions together in an effort to help them understand the situation. Even though toddlers are very young to understand what coronavirus or pandemic is, you can still explain the basics with game-like activities. Here are some tips for preparing your toddler for daycare reopening:
- Check out “COVIBOOK” prepared for kids younger than 7 years old. This printable book can help explore your child’s feelings and emotions while explaining them the basics of the virus
- Make hygiene rules fun with some games or activities that they like, i.e. singing their favorite song while washing hands for 20 seconds
- Use objects or things that they are familiar with to teach social distancing, i.e. be an airplane (with the arms open)
- Check out CDC website and resources for parents about child care centers and reopening during Covid-19