So your baby or child has been at their day care for a few months now and they just haven’t taken to it.

You may notice they are unhappier at home, continue to scream or cling to you at drop off, don’t engage with the other kids or staff, or have become more withdrawn.

You’ve probably decided your baby hates daycare.

It’s tough to make a decision to pull them out, especially if you’re a busy working parent. There are times when it may be necessary but before you do so, it’s important to work out what’s going on exactly.

Try to determine the cause of why your child hates daycare

Is it the centre, a specific carer, maybe another child, or separation anxiety? Depending on the root cause, there may be strategies that you and the centre can implement.

Sometimes a child just won’t settle into their daycare environment.

All the other kids might be thriving there, so it’s not necessarily a bad environment, just not the right one for your child.

If the centre can’t help make the necessary adjustments (their teaching style could be too rigid or too carefree for your child), you may need to move them elsewhere.

There could be a problem with a daycare teacher or another child

This can also be tricky but see what the centre manager recommends.

They may have strategies they can put in place such as making another room teacher your child’s primary caregiver, or if it’s another child causing yours grief, perhaps they can keep the children separated.

If your child is being bullied the centre should have very clear policies about how this will be dealt with as it should not be tolerated.

Your child may be suffering from separation anxiety

Again the centre can probably make recommendations on how to deal with this or advise when this developmental phase is likely to pass.

If it never does, you may need to consider moving them elsewhere as it’s likely to be the environment.

At the end of the day, you’ll do the best you can and you will need to take your cues from your child.

After all, no one in your family is gong to be happy if your child isn’t.

The pain of finding alternative arrangements that your child responds well to is going to be worth it long term.

Consider alternatives such as a nanny-share arrangement (whereby you and another family share the cost of a nanny), a mummy-nanny arrangement (when a mum takes care of her own child as well as yours), or family daycare (typically capped at four children).

These types of environments are often less stressful and overwhelming because there simply isn’t as much going on.

Have you experienced similar issues with your children at Day Care? How did you resolve the issues, please share in the comments below.

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  • My son was labelled a problem child at his last day care, i would spend a few hours at a time just watching and seeing the dynamics of the classroom and students/teachers and realised there was not enough supervision and strict curriculum at his daycare, which let him down as he is use to that at home. It resulted in my son being lost in translation and bored and would then do silly things to get attention. I moved him to a montessori as their curriculums are quite structured for his age and he has flourished ever since, not only is it a smaller daycare but they students are encourages to do individual activities that stimulate them at a much higher level than the other play based.

    • Grr, how dare they label him! Glad you were able to spend the time watching and find a solution that met his needs and personality.


  • This can be very difficult. I have had some issues with my child and childcare but you tend to find a solution if its not working out properly.


  • That would be so hard, sending your child somewhere they don’t want to go.

    • I agree, it’s a tough, but often necessary, thing parents have to deal with. Fortunately MOST end up enjoying daycare but sometimes it takes a little longer or something isn’t quite right.


  • So many reason as to why they might not like it so yes it is important to get to the bottom of the problem so you can make your decisions based on why the child doesn’t like it.


  • My 3rd child had separation issues and this made it hard to leave him anywhere. I ended up with family daycare and a weekend playgroup getting him use to me not being there. he was given a house key to keep so he knew I was coming back. Well he thought it was the main one but it was a copy but he thought I could not go home without him.


  • Family Day Care is s great alternative as your children is one of only a few and becomes an extension of th educators family. All educators are qualified, like in LDC. Ensure you interview or shop around for the educator who is right for you and your family.


  • I was so very lucky to be able to be a full time stay at home mum.
    The sad thing with that is that after all those years of being there for my kids, Im now left with no work skills and no superannuation fund


  • My son hated being at daycare. He started to refuse to eat and became very aggressive when there. We decided to take him out and ease him into being around other kids and people by taking him to playgroups regularly. It seemed to help him slowly adjust to being around new people and not be too attached to my husband and I.

    • Wow that sounds tough on all of you. It sounds like you found the right solution for your family.


  • My eldest had a hard time setteling into daycare as i now know i left it a little late to pu him into one he was three and had spent all his time is the years before with me. My next child started attending when she was 18 months old and loves it. My next started when he was the same age and after two months setteling in he now loves it.


  • My daughter used to hate being dropped off at day care, but would be fine after I left! I decided to take a little food so she had something to keep her occupied while I was leaving, worked a treat!


  • that would make things so hard. We are lucky, our little girl took to daycare like a duck to water. At first, we’d stay a little longer. We had some intro days where she only went for half days. She takes a special blanket with her as well as a favourite doll.


  • Hi Jack, separation kicks in at various stages so it\’s best to chat to your daycare about it to see what they recommend (otherwise it should pass within a couple of weeks if it\’s a developmental stage).

    Some other tips are:
    On the mornings your child goes, if they get upset, try and focus on a positive e.g. A friend they have there or an activity they enjoy so it becomes something they look forward to.
    Reading books or talking about it outside of daycare. Not to make it a focal point but you can draw comparisons e.g. if they enjoy painting at home, while they do it in that environment talk about the cool painting they did at daycare last week.


  • A neighbour had a bad instinct about the child care that her son was attending. One day, her son came home alarmingly withdrawn complaining of stomach aches. The GP cleared him of any physical problems. The mother pulled him out but never found out what happened that day. The centre was rated the worst in its area and later closed down due to mismanagement.


  • you need to talk to your child and explain everything about why they need to be there and why you need them to be there and maybe even offer them to pick them up early one day or any compremise you can come to that will also work for you


  • After trying for 6 moths we changed the centre our girl was in and it made and massive difference


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