My daugther is three and half and has been in daycare for awhile now and all of a sudden when I drop her off in the morning she chases me out the door tellin me not to go but then the teacher takes her from me and tells me that as soon as I close the door she stops. I tried taking away treats and everything else eveytime she does this in the morning but nothing seems to work?

asked 27 Jul '10, 14:28

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Jennifer 1
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edited 27 Jul '10, 16:52

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Tammy ♦♦

My son, at 16 months, is significantly younger so I don't know if the same type of situation applies. My son has been in daycare since he was 3 months. However, I've noticed anytime he's goes through a growth spurt, is teething, or learns new skills he becomes more clingy and resistant to change. During these periods, he cries both when I drop him off and when I come to pick him up (he's happy to see me, just doesn't want to leave). I haven't found much that helps when I drop him off. Since he's happy soon after I leave, I try to leave quickly after reassuring him that I will be back. However, when I pick him up, I try sitting with him a couple of minutes before suggesting we leave at which point he is usually willing to go.

This article on Supernanny also seems aimed at a younger child. However, they suggest:

  • Slow down your morning routine
  • Encourage your [child] to use ‘transitional objects’
  • Be matter-of-fact when leaving your child at daycare
  • Relish the reunion

The article also says, "If over the next few weeks your child doesn’t respond well to the suggestions here, you should investigate more closely the quality of care he’s receiving at the center."


answered 27 Jul '10, 17:02

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Kiesa ♦
accept rate: 26%

One thing that worked well for our daughter and for her cousin is to tell them to bring a little gift for the teacher. It can be anything - a sticker, a little flower from the garden, really anything. They got really excited about it! After a few days of doing that, it was no longer necessary and the anxiety ended.


answered 16 Aug '11, 21:42

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Federico Mena Quintero
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What a good idea, and I yes I really can imagine that working as it gives them a kind of responsibility, from choosing the 'little gift' carrying it and delivering it!

(18 Aug '11, 02:50) Emi

Although your daughter is a little older then typical it sounds like she is going through separation anxiety. Even though the attached articles and other literature gives a typical age range of 12-24 months, I have certainly heard many stories of children in preschool and kindergarten (3-5 years) showing similar behaviour. My daughter went through this when she was younger (and I expect that some day it might happen again) and like yours she was calm only minutes after we left. I although took that as a good sign. If she continued to cry and cry I would be much more worried.

The following article lists factors that may contribute to separation anxiety:

Minor or major illness
Changes in the household routine
Family changes such as birth of a sibling, divorce, death or illness
Change in caregiver or routine at day care center
Parents usually are not the cause of the separation anxiety, but they can make things worse or better

and also suggestions on how to alleviate separation anxiety in preschoolers:

  • Positive experiences with caregivers, short times at first.
  • Help child become familiar with new surroundings and people before actually leaving the child there.
  • Rituals (bedtime and morning)
  • "Lovie" or "Cuddly" represents closeness to parents. If possible, allow the child to take the "Lovie" along.
  • Do not give in.
  • Let the child know that he or she will be all right.
  • Remind the child of previous brave things he or she has done.
  • Talk about how a fictional character might handle it.
  • Let child know, in words he or she can understand that you appreciate how distressing it must be to be separated from loved ones.
  • Understanding and acceptance, but not excessive sympathy.
  • Never make fun of a child's separation distress.
  • Do not scold child for it.
  • Do not bribe child to mask the distress.
  • If you plan a special activity after you pick the child up, let it be unconditional.
  • Focus on the positive things that happened in daycare. Don't let them dwell on fears or imagination of what might happen.
  • Minimize fears by limiting scary TV shows
  • If it is an older child, consider introducing him or her to some of the children who are to be in the class and arranging play dates in advance.
  • Preparing the child--reading books about going to preschool, pretending about going on voyages or quests.
  • Make shopping for school supplies a special event just for that child.
  • Expect a child to be more tired and possibly more irritable than usual when he or she starts Kindergarten or First grade for the first few weeks.
  • When leaving, give a quick kiss and hug and cheerfully say goodbye.
  • Don't prolong your departure or come back several times.
  • Don't sneak out of the room.
  • Even if you feel that a strict teacher or a bully might be part of the problem, keep your child going to school while these problems are being handled.
  • If your child does stay home, do not make it an extra fun, gratifying day.

answered 27 Jul '10, 17:03

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Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

Both Tammy and Kiesa have provided really valuable and detailed answers in my opinion that can be very helpful to you with regard to your question.

Additionally, it has been my experience that talking with your child can also be helpful, and I recommend that you try speaking with your child. I think that at 3½ years old, you stand a good chance of getting answers that may help you understand why she is crying and "telling you not to go"

You could strike up a conversation with her, and try to make her talk about daycare, maybe she will be able to give you some indication of what it is that is upsetting her.

It could even be that she just misses you.


answered 28 Jul '10, 09:14

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accept rate: 19%

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Asked: 27 Jul '10, 14:28

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Last updated: 18 Aug '11, 02:50