When it comes to caring for children, it’s always helpful to have some key “go to” items with you at all times. Being prepared for all kinds of events is possible if your Mary Poppins bag is packed with the right supplies. Here are some suggestions that can be helpful in almost any situation for both parents and nannies.
From cleaning up your child after a messy snack, to wiping down surfaces, these wipes are ideal to to have. You can also pack sanitizing wipes, but be careful not to mix them up!
Tide to Go Pens
Tiny people somehow make the biggest messes! It can be hard to keep their clothing from being ruined by stains from food, dirt, or art supplies. Keeping a tide pen in your bag allows for quick cleanup of unwanted spots before the stain can set and keeps clothes looking newer for longer.
1st Aid Kit
Bumps and scrapes can happen! Be prepared with bandaids, disinfectant ointment, water wipes, and boo boo ice (you can buy the “crack and go” kind that get cold when you activate them). First aid items in your Mary Poppins bag will help you to always be ready in case of an accident. You should also have age appropriate Tylenol and a small thermometer. Lastly, for any children with necessary medication be sure to have inhalers, EpiPens, or Benadryl packed for the unknowns.
Include Water in your Mary Poppins Bag
I always find that having a water bottle available for the children is helpful. This will help to make sure that they are well hydrated and never left feeling thirsty. Be sure to include water for yourself too. A tired, dehydrated caregiver is no fun.
Nut Safe Snack
While the children you care for may not have nut allergies, they are common enough that other kids nearby might. If you are out and about it can be very considerate to others to provide your children with a nut free snack. This way other caregivers don’t have to worry about any cross contamination!
Age Appropriate Books & Toys
Keeping children busy and engaged can sometimes be tricky, especially if you are waiting in line or at a restaurant waiting for food. Having a supply of age appropriate items will be helpful to occupy wiggly children. Include crayons and paper, books, and small toys that don’t have lots of tiny pieces. My favorite are reusable sticker books because they’re thin.
A Change of Clothes & Wet Bag
You never know when an accident can happen or maybe even some spontaneous puddle jumping! Always keep a spare set of weather, appropriate clothing to save you in a pinch. Include socks, undies, pants, shirt, and even shoes if possible (you can always leave spare shoes in the car or stroller). A wet bag is perfect for putting wet or soiled clothing into until it can be put in the laundry. A simple freezer gallon Ziplock will do.
Don’t Forget the Essentials
A must have for your Mary Poppins bag is hand sanitizer! In addition, children who are still in diapers of course need diapers, wipes, diaper cream and a changing pad. Arm & Hammer disposable diaper bags are also great if you change a stinky poop. And just as a reminder to the busy adults out there; never leave home without your phone and wallet.
Prepared for the Weather
Always check the weather before heading out. Be sure to pack an umbrella, sunglasses, sun hat, sunscreen, bug spray, or Winter accessories if necessary! All you New Englanders know we have to be prepared for anything!
About The Author
Sarah Proctor has worked with young children for over 25 years as a teacher, childcare director, nanny, and mom of two girls. She has her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration from UMass Amherst. In addition, Sarah has her Director 2 certification from the Department of Early Education and Care.