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at home, continue to scream or cling to you at drop off, don’t engage with the other kids or staff, or have become more withdrawn.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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  • How to solve the problem with separation anxiety?


  • One of my kids was being picked on by another child so was funny after the day at child care. Unfortunately, it took us 6 months to figure out what the issue was because he couldn’t communicate properly. I guess you need to really trust the staff to do the right thing for your child.


  • My son became clingy and withdrawn when he was at a particular daycare, and his behaviour and speech started regressing. I started sitting in my car outside and watching what was happening when the kids were outside and it was horrible, the staff were in groups chatting amongst themselves and the kids were running riot. I saw a larger boy grab my 2.5 year old sons toy out of his hand and shove sand into his face. I saw my son crying, but the childcare worker sitting near the sandpit did absolutely nothing to comfort him or teach the older boy boundaries. I went inside and saw my son just wandering around with dried tears on his face. I picked hi. Up and asked his supposed primary carer how he went and she said ‘he’s been fine, he’s had a good day. When I questioned this saying my son looked upset, she just looked blank and shrugged. As a mother who’s had her child in 4 different care situations (with moving house etc) I have to say, trust your instincts. Crying at drop off can be very normal, but if the child is becoming more socially withdrawn or developmentally regressing then investigate further and don’t just rely on the caregivers words. Look at their actions and how your child is behaving with them, if they’re ignoring or withdrawing from the caregiver, something is up.


  • My son has been going to daycare for 6 months and starts crying as soon as we pull into the driveway. I’m told he only cries until I leave then he is fine. He is always happy when I pick him up so its just a phase he is going through.


  • The little ones will settle in the daycare environment. It just needs time.


  • I was really lucky with my boys at day care. I think my son went through a little phase as he got older but it came down to a carer that he just didn’t like (no particular reason – I thought she was nice but my son and her just didn’t click). You have to go with your gut instinct with things like this. You know your child best and you may just need to try different places to find the right carer or space for you child


  • As a Family Daycare provider for 8 years, I can tell you not to always be alarmed at a child that cries every morning, and it doesnt mean anything is wrong, it is common for a child to cry as mum/dad leaves and then within minutes of the parent leaving, the child is happy and gets on with their day.. Of course always be wary and be observant .. but morning anxiety doesnt mean you need to change


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