How to Set Up a Day Care Center

Updated July 05, 2018

Once you have all of your permits and a location for your day care centre, you can begin to set it up. This is perhaps the most fun part if you like organisation. Kids do well with little stations and organised schedules. Check to make sure you have everything you need, then get your day care centre all set up and ready to go.

Make sure you have your required paperwork organised first. In most states, parents are to sign their children in and out of the day care centre. Create your sign in/out sheets on your computer and place them in a clipboard. Tie a string to a pen and tie the other end of the string to the clipboard. Hang the clipboard out of the reach of children somewhere by the entrance to the centre.

Create cubbies for each of the children. These cubbies should hold diapers, wipes, an extra outfit and any comfort toys. All parents should be required to send in an extra outfit for each child, as accidents can happen. Your cubbies can be made out of wood. You could also use a shoebox for each child or set up shelves on the wall with dividers to separate each child's things.

Have a diapering area. There should be disposable pads to lay under each child as well as gloves for your hands. You should have a changing table designated for diapering. It helps to keep a chart on the wall next to the diapering area to check off each child as they have been changed and what kind of diaper you changed (urination or bowel movement).

Create few stations around the area. One could be a music station, one an art station and one a work station (for any kids who have homework or for helping little ones to learn their ABCs). You will want to incorporate each of these stations into your daily schedule.

Designate two play areas. One should be indoor and one outdoor for nice weather. Make sure all toys are age appropriate and are not dangerous to any of the smaller children.

Have a lunch and snack area. This is a spot that is just for food and drinking. You do not want the kids running through the centre with food and drinks. It should be understood that food and drinks must stay at the lunch and snack area.

Set up a medicine cabinet that can be kept locked at all times. From time to time, children may need some form of medicine. Always have the parent sign a permission slip for you to administer the medicine and then keep it in your locked cabinet.

Gather proper cleaning supplies and keep them out of the reach of children. Each day, the day care centre should be cleaned either before the kids arrive or after they leave. Germs can spread quickly with children, so it is important to keep up with the cleaning. Toys and tables should be sanitised to kill germs and prevent the spread of illness.

Provide a place for napping where the child can be safe and not disturbed by the kids who aren't napping.

Put everything all together on a schedule for each child. Base the schedule on the time you will have them. Try to get them to use as many of the stations as you can in the day so they are stimulated and not bored. Providing quality day care also means you should try to spend time educating the children through play, crafts or music appreciation. Physical exercise is also key, which is why you should create the two play areas--especially the one outside.

Finally, make sure you have all fire exits marked on a map in each room of the building, including the bathrooms. This is usually a big requirement in getting approved to open. It is also common sense so the children who can look at the map will know how to get out in the event of a fire.


Ask the parents to bring in sleeping bags for their children to take naps.


Make sure your centre is up to code before opening. It must pass cleanliness and safety inspections.

Things You'll Need

  • Diapering area
  • Play area inside and out
  • Sign in and out sheet
  • Cubbies for child's things
  • A locked medicine cabinet
  • Proper cleaning supplies
  • Lunch and snack area
  • Schedule
  • Time out chair
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About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.