Can daycare get any easier?

Jennifer - posted on 10/25/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

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My boy is almost 18 months old. I was lucky enough to get to stay home for the first 8 months going back to work in Jan.

He has been in daycare for 10 months now. I have had to change daycares 1 time due to cost. This current location he has been in since May.

So I trust the daycares and don't think they are doing anything wrong at all. Let me state that, I think they are good loving places that provide him with as much attention as he is going to get anywhere.

Of course when daycare started he cried everyday, and when we changed it caused a disruption. I think that is to be expected. BTW - he goes to daycare 3 days a week, 2 days with g'ma and 2 days at home

He has been in this current daycare for 6 months. Every morning for the first few months was crying. Then it seemed to get better for a while, he wasn't happy but he didn't cry every day. In August I took a trip and was able to be with him for 5 days straight. Ever since then drop in the morning has been a horrible experience.

He starts to fuss as soon as he sees the building. As a matter of fact, just a few blocks from our house he starts to watch which direction we are going. I try to give him the same routine every day. Work days he gets dressed first thing, weekends we lounge in our jammies. He is figuring out the difference so the work days he fights getting dressed.

It has gotten so bad and so emotional for us (being pregnant I am super emotional), that I finally told daddy "when you're in town you have to take him, I can't handle it". Daddy is the only one that wants the baby in daycare, I adamantly do not. the first day the baby cried so hard that daddy came home and sulked all day, I don't think he talked to me for 3 days.

How can I make this easier? I stay as long as I can to try and help him transition, try to get him engaged in toys there, I've tried bringing some breakfast from home so he has something do to right away. I have a happy face, and we sing songs, we talk about all the fun he is going to have at school. Nothing seems to work.

I am at a loss, I cry almost every morning after I drop him off. I am getting so depressed having to take him.


If I could stay home I would but after 5 miscarriages, we made financial choices (combined with the poor economy) that make it impossible, financially, to stay home. I have to make this better for my son.

Any advice from other working moms would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

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Ida - posted on 10/26/2010

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fast in and outs are best I too work in a daycare and I have found sometimes when a child is having a real hard time if she/he has a picture they can carry around with them or somthing else form home it helps as a teacher i gave a older child 4 a pretend phone number on paper for us to call his mom with latter in the day we did this for about a week and then he was fine we never called but he helded on to the paper for dear life. and it is very true your child more than likely is done crying before you get in your car. they love to pull on the heart strings

Jesika - posted on 10/25/2010

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i agree with elizabeth. as a mother and daycare worker myself.. sometimes a shorter goodbye is easier on the child. i know how hard that is with my son so i know what my parents go through everyday. and i hate to say it but the whole only going three days a week thing may make it worse too. i had a child that only came to daycare three days a week and was having a hard time with it. we suggested five days a week and the child was sooo much better! i hope everything works out for you and your family!

Eliz - posted on 10/25/2010

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It is actually just a faze that you need not worry about too much. One thing that might help would be to shorten your good byes. Its hard but sometimes sticking around for a bit makes it harder on him. Have one of the teachers come get him from you and quickly leave. He will cry for a few minutes but will get over it quickly. My son was the same way and some days still gets upset about getting dropped off but still loves his daycare.

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Bobbi - posted on 11/04/2010

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I think the issue here is your feelings about your husband and his totally inflexible and insensitive response to your very real dilemma. If you both have the luxury of working from home then you both should share in the child care.......let him drop the baby off, then meet him at the marriage counselor's office!

Mojca - posted on 11/04/2010

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I agree with all the advices above. Better to do it quick and make the morning journeys as fun as possible :) I let my 3y-old take one little toy and then we sing his favourite songs all the way to the daycare, where we race who will come first up the stairs. I tell him I'll pick him up when he'll wake up and we'll do so many funny things in the afternoon. I have one other boy in 1st grade and one baby boy (1 month) at home.

And you'll have to convince yourself that it's GOOD for your boy to be in daycare. Many already wrote how he definitely feels it if you think otherwise. It's so much easier for you to have him in daycare - you can do something in the morning or have some time off - think how will it be when the baby comes. You will have much more energy to be with your boy in the afternoon if you had some time off in the morning, taking it easy, don't you think?
I have 3 boys now and I'm THANKFUL the bigger two are away in the mornings. That doesn't mean I don't love them or that I'm not a good mother. I learned that in this way I have much more energy to play with them in the afternoon, to go with all 3 of them on longer walks, exploring, singing and joking around. The 2 have more of me and I have more to give to them if I'm not dead-tired.

Be strong and stay positive! Cuddle and play with your little one in the afternoon and at the weekends. And know he's much loved in the daycare too and he's allright :)

Melissa - posted on 11/03/2010

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Chidren pick up on our emotions even if we try to mask them. Your son probably feels the sadness in you even if you try to put on a happy face. Like the other women said, it is easier on both of you to just do it band-aide style...quick! Be confident in this choice, even if it isn't your first choice and he will begin to get stronger too. I stayed at home with my first child for 6 years and am now pregnant with my second. I, like you, don't have the SAHM luxury anymore. I am going to have to put this baby in daycare after 12 weeks. I am nervous too.

BUT...

We have to do what is best for everyone. If that means being a little more abrupt with your exit, than it will be better all around, for you, for your son, and for the daycare teachers. It may feel like you are being cold and uncaring. But as parents, we have to do that sometimes for the well-being of our children. If we stick around too long and make a fuss and feel sad, our kids pick up on that. It is hard to fool someone who was inside you for 9 months and felt every emotion you felt! That doesn't just go away! BE STRONG! I know you are strong...most every single mother is stronger than they realize. Just fake that confidence until both of you believe it. It's hard, but you have to block off some of your emotions to let him go. Just think of it this way....It'll be good practice for when he goes away to college or gets married! :)

Good luck! You are a wonderful mother for caring so much. Keep us posted.

Eva - posted on 11/02/2010

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You said you are pregnant? Wanted to say that as I have changed throughout my pregnancy my DD who is 22 mths, has started to notice changes and daycare dropoffs have gotten a lot harder. She has become much more clingy all the way around. That could be part of it.

Glad the shorter drop offs are helping. I do this as well and find that it does make it easier on both of us. Also, does he have a blanket or toy that he is attached to? DD has a blanket that stays at daycare that she uses for naps, but she also gets it in the morning for the first 5/10 minutes. I give it to her when we get there, say my goodbyes and leave. It has gotten better! Good luck!

Kelly - posted on 11/02/2010

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I'm going through the same phase right now too. My daughter has been in daycare since 8 months as well. We really love the school but she just transitioned from her old classroom to the next age level. I think the adjustment of getting used to the new teachers plus I too just went on a trip - although she was unable to go with me. This was the first time I was ever away from her - 8 days I was gone! She is stuck to me like glue now!! When I drop her off at daycare she clings and cries too. Her teachers say as soon as I leave she is fine. I try to jazz her up about it on our drive to day care. We talk about seeing our friends and going to "Big School" like her older sisters and playing on the playground and some of her other favorite activities that she enjoys - it seems to help. She gets excited - she will start to whimper a little when we walk in the classroom door. The best thing to do, although hard to do sometimes, it to just kiss him on the cheek and leave quickly. Lingering makes it worse. I feel bad too but the times I have tried to stay to calm her down myself have only made it worse. He will grow out of this phase. We all wish we could stay home but unfortunately we can not. Just remember you are not the only one experiencing this and seeing his happy face in the afternoon when you pick him up makes up for it!!!!!

Lyndsay - posted on 11/01/2010

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If you're having anxiety about leaving him there, he will sense it. You need to present a confident front to encourage him. Also, sometimes it actually makes the whole process worse when you linger by trying to make your child feel comfortable. It shows the kid that you aren't fully comfortable with leaving him there, so why should he be?

Francesca - posted on 11/01/2010

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I'm glad to hear the quick drop-off is helping. That's what's worked best with my daughter as well.

If he's 18 months old, he might start enjoying the company of the other kids more over the next year. Even though the daily parting is painful, I think kids do gain something from their exposure to a variety of adults.

Jennifer - posted on 11/01/2010

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thank you everyone for the support. I would love to hire a nanny but, husband and I both work from home and in the home. The few times I have tried to have g'ma here to watch him while i was working was comical, he would stand outside the door dancing trying to get my attention.



The last couple drop-offs were better as I made the quick and simple.



Despite all our conversations prior to marriage, my DH has just informed me he thinks daycare is best and will not do anything to help me stay home with my children. I am pretty devastated right now .. but that is another issue for another time.

Lindsay - posted on 10/31/2010

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I totallly agree with the quick goodbye as well as your child being able to sense how you are. When I am stressed out or upset my 17 month old totally senses that. It will make him more upset bc he can sense youre upset. My son has been in daycare and I FIRMLY believe it is good for him. It help give him socialization that he would otherwise lack. As much as you don't like it you should look at the positive aspects of him going and you need to encourage him and be supportive. It is also worse if you linger. The workers have been at this a long time and they know how to help children adjust. However it is hard for the child to adjust if the parent cant.

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Question 1: Does he stop crying once you have left? 1a: Does he calm down and eventually go off and play?

2. What have the teachers at the center suggested?

3. Is there a child in his class he has made a connection with? If so see if you can plan a play date at your house or the other child's house.

Advice a drop off:
As hard as it is, make it short and quick. Give him a big hug and kiss. Tell him you love him and that you will see him at pick up time. And leave.
Whether he is crying or not.
I know this seems counter intuitive, but for some children the longer the parent stays the more they cling to the hope that Mom or Dad is going to stay too.
He's also hit the age where crying and tantruming are things to do to get attention.

Another suggestion is that as nice as it is to laze around in one's jammies on days off, it might for the time being be best to just get dressed every day. Once things calm down then you can be lax and go back to chilling in jammies.

Good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 10/30/2010

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In this day & age it's honestly a major luxory to get to stay home with your child(ren). I have a 4 & 1/2 year old son who I have been raising totally, & completely on my own. My ex hasn't been around since the day he was born (I've never seen a penny in child support either), and my son & I live about an hour & a half to 3 hours away from ALL our family & close friends. My entire life has become all about being a mommy, and obviously having to work full-time along with taking care of EVERYTHING on the home front all alone. Because it's just the two of us, we have an extremely tight bond...I'm my lil man's world & he is mine! Don't worry what you are experiencing is just a phase. However, as with most phases, we, as parents, can do & NOT do certain things to help teach our children basic essential ways of coping that will help end whatever phase they are currently experiencing. I did what you did in the beginning, and stayed at daycare longer trying to comfort him & it did NOT help. In fact, I truely believe it made it worse because my son needed to learn how to comfort himself, and trust that I would be coming back to get him before he knew it. In hind sight, it all boiled down to some serious seperation anxiety. I ended up leaving without comforting him, or waiting for him to stop crying. I HATED IT SO MUCH! There were times his teacher/aid had to literally hold him so I could leave. He would run after me & not let go. It broke my heart to no end! But after a few weeks he suddenly stopped doing it...in fact, it actually hurt my feelings a little because he was like "mom who?" when we'd arrive at his school/daycare. lol He would run right in ready to play with his friends. It's tough because we love our child(ren) more than anything or anyone, but sometimes we forget that part of our job as parents is to teach our children how to be independent. We want to comfort, love & protect ALL the time...& sometime lose sight of when it's time to let them "fall" so they can learn how to pick themselves back up. When you think about it, how can anyone learn how to do anything on their own, or how to adapt to different environments with different people if they are never given the chance to? I realized that I needed to treat that particular phase the same way I treated the whole booboo thing. In other words, when he was much younger & would fall down, he would look at me before he actually reacted to falling. If I jumped to his aid with concern then he'd cry, and if I said "Oups you're ok, honey!" without any unnecessary concern, he'd shake it off & go right back to playing. Obviously not ever child or parent is the same, & neither is every situation that pops up in life. I do, however, know that doing the same thing over & over & over again expecting different results certainly doesn't work! Good luck...hope you find an approach that works for you & your little one!

Alison - posted on 10/29/2010

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You commented that your husband wants the baby in daycare and you do not. Your child can totally feel that! I always say that when dad can drop off the little one it is a better idea. Men are less easily manipulated, less likely to be found crying in the parking lot, and your child doesn't have the same sort of bond to him as he does to you. If hubby can drop him off every day, he REALLY should.

But before this can get any better, you need to let go of the guilt you feel for leaving him in daycare. It would be great if you could stay at home with him, but you can't and that is OK! You do not have to provide a "perfect" life for him. Just all the love you have to give.

Cheer up. It WILL get better.

Erin - posted on 10/28/2010

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I agree with the quick goodbye as well. My daycare actually has that as a rule that you need to make goodbyes quick so they can move on. Have you talked to your daycare provider to see how he acts when you leave, continue to cry? or go play? That would help me determine my next course of action.

Amy - posted on 10/28/2010

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My daughter was in a private daycare (she was the only child) until she turned 1. She cried every morning for the first month. You just need to drop and go. She would stop crying as soon as I was out of sight. You also have to try to keep your anxiety level down to make him feel more comfortable.

Becky - posted on 10/28/2010

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my daughter didn't like to go to daycare either, but once she knew that we were coming back and she would be just fine with the other kids and that it was actually lots of fun, she was a lot better with it.. i was home with her from birth until she was about 3-1/2 so it was very hard for her to be left. she had good days and she had bad but the more she went the better she was. i do know that at the facility she went to they said it was easier for them to handle the kids if the parents would bring them in and take there jackets off and stuff but if they started to cry that it was best to just hug and kiss them and tell them that we would be back after work and leave and then the providers can try to get them calmed down without having the parents still there. with the parents still there the child still feels the need to be with them, once they are gone then they will go on with whatever they do after you leave anyway. the more that this is done, the faster and easier your drop off's will be.

Candi - posted on 10/28/2010

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You should consider hiring a nanny. It is more cost effective than many people think. If you will soon be having another baby, it may even be more affordable to have the nanny come to your home rather than having 2 kids in daycare. It may comfort your child being in the comfort of his own home. It is a hard situation to leave your crying child. It is something every mom faces. Hang in there. I hope things get easier for you. Check out Nannies4hire.com. It may be a benefit for your family!

Marsha - posted on 10/27/2010

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First off {hugs} While everything that anyone is going to tell you does NOT make you a bad mother. It hurts, you feel guilty. I have worked in child care in the past, and that did help me to realize that when I dropped my daugther off years later to know that they will be ok after you leave. My daughter went to center based child care at 16 months. She spent from 6 months to 14 months in a home setting with a sitter and the sitter's daughter. There, she had little to NO problems with drop offs. Then, I was off for summer vacation (I work in a school district) and at the end of the summer she started and the day care center where my sister works. My daughter KNOWS my sister, sees her weekly if not more often, yet, at drop off every morning when we started back to school she would cry. I was leaving her at the center WITH her aunt!!! (My sister was there at drop offs) and she was in my sister's class. 18 months is a time when lots of kids go through seperation anxiety. My daughter would improve as the school year went on, but she always struggled after long vacations that were the change to her normal routine (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter breaks at school). Summer vacation was the WORST! We'd reduce her schedule, no sense paying full time when I was off for the summer, and would have her start back the week before school started so I could attend inservices. She'd start crying again at drop off and would cling to me.

Establish a short routine. Take of his coat, help him hang it in his cubby, give him a kiss, and leave. I would always tell my daughter that I loved her and remind her of who was picking her up that day. For example "I love you! Don't forget, Mommy will pick you up after snack time this afternoon."

I did the same thing from 16-17 months up until she stopped going to day care at 5yrs and 3 months. She had bad days at 5 too and would sometimes cry.

If it bothers you, call the day care over a break to check on him, chances are he's fine before you are out of the parking lot.

Teresa - posted on 10/26/2010

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I have had a similar experience. My sister was able to watch my son when he was an infant. Then started at a day care center at about 18 months, for 3 days a week. Drop offs were bad at first. Both shorter good buys & if a teacher can distract or helped him transition. Sometimes they waved at me from the window. The other BIG thing that helped was when he started going to the BIG kid room (toddler and preschool age). Or even being a special helper, simple tasks like handing out the breakfast plates and stuff gave him a real sence of importance, independence and attention that he craved.

Hang in there. Major change is difficult and he knows what he is able to get away with. Keep a good routine if you can. And if it's really bothering you, then you should talk to the day care workers. Mostlikely they want an easier drop off as well.
Best of luck.

Maria - posted on 10/25/2010

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I agree. A shorter good bye might be something to try. I also work in child care and have had kids have a hard time at drop off and once they start coming 5 days a wk actually do way better. If you cant do 5 days for financial reasons try making sure the days that he does go are the same days every week. Try keeping drop off time the same time too. Go in and help put up coat, bag and whatever and give him a short hug and kiss and reassure him you'll be back later. If you typically pick up at the same time try telling him something like "mommy will be back after snack time. Try to avoid things like 3 o'clock since kids can't tell time but know that after breakfast comes play then lunch then nap then snack then mommy comes back. It helps give them a sense of what to expect instead of wondering all day when you are coming back. Talk to his teacher she may be able to give you more insight on his day. My little girl screamed, cried, and clung to my leg every day. I talked to her teacher and she suggested I close the door and listen on the other side for a few min. Sure enough the next day the same routine but this time when I "left" I stayed. she cried for a min and then stopped as if nothing every happened and was playing when I peaked in the window. I guess she thought if she made me feel bad enough she could go home w/ me instead of staying. Only after I really relaxed did she also and no problems 3 years later.

Denise - posted on 10/25/2010

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ohhhh I agree, my son has been going to Daycare since he was 6 weeks old, he goes 5 days out of the week from 6 am -5:30 pm....as most kids, he has his good days and his bad days when getting dropped off. On his good days I get a kiss good bye and a quick dismissal and the few bad days when he cry's mommy no, I give him a kiss and say good bye and his teacher takes him from there....Its hard but makes it easier on him and my son is 2 1/2.

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