Nearly every parent with a child in daycare has experienced dropping them off with something that never makes it home. Help eliminate wasted materials and lost clothes by properly labeling your child’s belongings for daycare.
Stay organized by creating a system for labeling your child’s clothes.
When you begin, pull out every item of clothing that your child will take to daycare, including gloves, boots, and coats in the winter, and sunglasses, swimsuits, and shorts in the summertime.
Label everything at once.
This will help keep track of what has been done. As your child grows and more clothing is purchased, label each item as it joins the closet.
Place the label in the same place on each item of clothing.
Check to make sure everything is labeled before you drop him off each day. A good place for labels are along the back of the clothing, such as the rear tag or seam, where it is out of reach from the child.
Periodically check the clothes after they come out of the laundry to make sure they are still labeled.
Choose what you want to write on the label.
You can either label the clothes with your child’s first name and last initial or just his initials. If you use initials or just your child’s first name, check with the daycare to make sure there aren’t other children with the same name or the same initials.
If you plan to pass the clothing down and use it on future children, label it simply with your last name.
Get a permanent marker.
The most basic way to label a child’s clothes is with permanent marker, which is safe and works on most types of fabric. Choose a dark color marker like black, brown, or blue and label the clothing in an inconspicuous location, such as clothing tag or along the back inside neck seam.
Permanent markers are the least intrusive method in regards to daycare activity, and will stay in place no matter what activity your child pursues.
Consider using a laundry pen for tougher fabrics.
For an even more permanent label, or if you are labeling delicate fabrics like lycra or silk, use a laundry pen, which works the same as a regular marker.
Let the marker dry for a few minutes before putting the clothes on your child.
Maintain the marker label.
Permanent marker can fade after lots of washes, so you may have to re-label the clothes every few months.
Permanent markers and laundry pens are available at any office supply store or big box distributor and are definitely the least expensive labeling option.
Consider using tape as a less expensive ‘stick on label’.
The most basic version of stick-on labels is to use masking tape or painters tape and label it with a permanent marker. Cut a piece of the labeled tape and adhere it to your child’s clothes or the tag of the clothing.
Replace the tape as it begins to fall off.
Some stronger tapes can last through a few washes, but in most cases you’ll need to put a new label on every day.
Purchase professional sticker labels.
You can also purchase sticker labels from online retailers and kids’ stores. Many companies produce labels to attach to the tags of children’s clothing. These labels last through the laundry but aren’t as durable as fabric labels.
However, they are easy to apply and don’t show through on other parts of clothing.
Consider using a different method if your child is likely to peel the label off.
Stick-on labels are the easiest type of label to be removed, and may not be the best option if your child will fidget and pick at the label, or if they are around other children who will pull at the label.
They are, however, one of the less expensive options and easy to apply.
Decide whether you want to buy fabric labels, or make them yourself.
Sewn labels can either be purchased from online companies like It’s Mine Labels or Label Land or made on your own by cutting out small pieces of fabric and using a permanent marker, laundry pen, or hand stitching to label each square.
Attach the label to your child’s clothing.
To attach the label to the clothing, simply stitch around the edge of the label using a sewing machine, or hand sew it. Sewn labels don’t have the risk of getting lost because they are so firmly put on your child’s clothes. They also don’t leave as permanent a mark as writing straight on the fabric with a laundry pen.
However, they are hard to remove to pass the clothing down to other children and will show a visible stitch on the opposite side.
Consider using an iron on fabric label.
A slightly less permanent, but still effective, approach to fabric labels is to use an iron-on version. These labels are also available from a variety of online companies or at a sewing or baby store.
To apply to clothing, follow the directions on the package and use an iron to cover the label completely for a few minutes.
Make a homemade iron-on label.
You can create homemade iron-on labels by cutting fabric squares and placing a piece of fusible, iron-on material (available at sewing stores) between the label and the clothing. Then simply follow the instructions on the iron-on material package to attach it to the clothing.
Iron-on labels are still sturdy and durable, but don’t show the seam that comes with sewing on the fabric labels. Because fabric labels are so sturdy, they tend to perform well at daycare, even during the most active activities.