Finding the right part-time day care program includes making sure that the program is licensed and regularly inspected according to local and/or state regulations. When inspecting the home or facility, consider safety, size and cleanliness, the number and ages of children served, and the experience and training of the care providers. Consider the extent to which the program's activities and its disciplinary procedures fit the child's age and personality.
Programs should regularly engage children in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, and their artwork and projects should be on display. Inspect outdoor play areas for safety considerations, and discuss the types of off-site activities that are offered and how they are supervised. Find out if each child is assigned to a specific caregiver; such consistency is important for a child's sense of security. Day care facilities should allow 35 square feet of space per child to ensure adequate room for play.
Ask to review all written policies and procedures. Policies should require immunizations and criminal background checks, first aid, CPR and child development training for all staff, and appropriate staff-to-child ratios, as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. Routine health and safety measures, such as childproofing cupboards and doors, disinfecting toys on a regular basis, and using disposable gloves when changing diapers, should also be included in the program's policies and procedures.