How to deal with a toddler throwing a temper tantrum when being picked up from daycare?

Beth - posted on 04/17/2012 ( 12 moms have responded )

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It seems like everyday that I pick up my 21 month old son from daycare he throws a super meltdown. Especially when I pick him up. It's like he doesn't want to leave daycare or something. When I do pick him up because he won't just walk out by himself, he grabs chunks of my hair and rips it out, gives me a good wallop alongside of my head and kicks, screams and cries bloody murder. I'm getting so frustrated with his behavior that I don't know what else to do! I've gotten down to his level and told him to stop and I've put him in a timeout until he calms down. I've recently started to tug back on his hair so that he knows what it feels like (except I don't rip chunks of his hair out!). I don't like to spank since the timeouts in his room or a corner in the kitchen seems to work just fine at home. I would appreciate ANY ADVICE. I'm at my wits ends. I know to just keep following the same pattern, but what if I'm doing it wrong and there's a better way to handle this? And the worst thing is that he's perfectly fine when we get home! Like nothing has happened! But I'm still worked up about his fit at daycare and the daycare lady looking at me like I'm a bad Mom! Even one of the other Mom's at daycare mentioned today "He only screams like that when you pick him up." Now I'm afraid this Mom is gonna call CPS on me or something. Thank you again for all your help!

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Amy - posted on 04/17/2012

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I agree with Katherine, you have to pick him up it's not an option. I know my son who is now 6 can still be very difficult when I pick him up from my mother-in-law, and she always tells me how great he was all afternoon. I honestly just think my son acts that way with me and my husband because we're his parents and he feels most comfortable with us, unfortunately we get to see the worst of him but like I said it's because he's comfortable with us. He also used to give me a really bad attitude when I picked him up from pre-school and his teacher would just give me a look because they never saw him act like that in school. Usually I would make pick up as quick as possible so that we didn't interrupt the other families.

Maren - posted on 04/18/2012

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If he is hitting and pulling your hair change how you hold him. When you pick him up have him infront of you with his back to your chest, have one arm supporting him under his bum and the other tightly wrapped arround his arms. You could start by only doing this hold once he hits or pulls your hair letting him know you are holding him like that because he is hitting. Most likely he will not like being "traped", and the hitting should start to lessen within a couple of weeks. Good Luck.

Katherine - posted on 04/17/2012

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Well you HAVE to pick him up or he won't leave right? Just pick him up and leave. Don't say a word. It's none of that lady's business! My daughter didn't want to leave either. The daycare providers shut off all the lights and said it's time to go now, we're leaving too. That helped a lot.

BeeJay - posted on 04/19/2012

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Is he an only child? If so, then I can understand a little why he wouldnt want to be picked up from daycare. Dont get me wrong, I'm sure he loves you but at the daycare he gets to play with lots of little kids. When my daughter (only child) is at the park it is so hard to get her to leave because she just wants to be with her little friends and play. I understand how frustrating it can be but the other ladies are right. Just pick him up and leave. You owe NO explanation to anyone! I'm sure he isnt the first little kid they have seen throw a fit so dont let them intemidate you. Your a great mom so just keep your chin up!

Amber - posted on 04/18/2012

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Hi, I have a home daycare and also have 2 of my own kids. Kids are going to have tantrums, just part of growing up. I have one little boy who recently just started doing a simlilar thing at pick up time. If mom comes, he wants dad to pick him up, when dad comes, he wants mom LOL. But he does the whole crying, going limp on the floor. I know they are great parents but I can see the frustration it causes them. I'm pretty close with them so I know it's a little frustrating for them when he acts that way but I let them know it's normal :) My kids have tantrums too. I would suggest like other have, just pick him up and go instead of dragging it out. Maybe ask your childcare provider if she has any suggestions, maybe at drop off not during a tantrum (when he's calm).. You should feel comfortable with her to ask advice. Also maybe think of it this way, he's having such a great, fun wonderful day, he doesn't want to go. Even though the pick up isn't fun, just knowing he is having a fun time and is safe while your at work should be comforting. good luck :)

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Annabelles - posted on 04/27/2012

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you need to be happy cause your baby you know is happy where you leave him so that should make you feel good. But dont worry about baby meltdowns. Just get your baby and thank the people who take care of your little one. Then cuddled your baby and go. Dont feel bad and think that your baby doesnt want to be with you. Its just that your baby is having too much fun thats all.

Beth - posted on 04/25/2012

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Thank you everyone for your suggestions! It makes me feel better that its just a phase and that he is having such a good time at daycare that he would like to stay there. :)

Harper - posted on 04/19/2012

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Dont let her upset you, I would recommend just quickly picking up and leaving or just telling him about all the fun stuff hes going to be doing at home (like seeing daddy or the dog etc)

[deleted account]

Even if your son is having a good time at daycare sounds like maybe its a bit of "toddler justice". I'm a SAHM but when my son who is 16 months old stays at my parents for any lenght of time and I'm gone he serves is own justice buy throwing fits and such. It's is way to punish me. Maybe give him a good cuddle and hug him tight. Cuddle him a bit more when you get home. This phase passes I promise. My girls did the samething when they were about this age. I promise its not because your a bad Mom and anyone who has had a toddler will tell you this happens.
When you pick him up and he throws this fit like the others said quickly leave and carry him. I find talking softly to my son works well. I will repeat "Mommy loves you and we need to go so we can play with your toys" It seems to help calm him down. Good luck and stay strong!

Jasmine - posted on 04/19/2012

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Is there any way to call ahead to let them know you're coming? Then your son has a little time to finish what he's playing with.

Adriana - posted on 04/18/2012

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In the words of my husband, "Boys are a lot stronger and will react stronger. Get control at home before you go out."



What you are doing seems ok but when you get home, walk him to his time out area and explain what he does is a "no no" and "hurts mommy and mommy's feelings"

Beth - posted on 04/17/2012

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Thanks for the advice! I'm gonna try and make picking him up faster rather than taking my time waiting for him to be ready to leave.

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