HELP, MY CHILD THROWS A TANTRUM WHEN I DROP HER OFF AT DAYCARE! Some children race into their classrooms without even a “goodbye” to mom or dad.  Other children whine, cry, scream, and cling to their parents’ legs.  These children do everything they can think of to prevent mom or dad from leaving them.  If the second scenario sounds familiar, here are three questions to consider:

1.     Why is your child acting this way?

The answer to this question seems easy: “because my child doesn’t want me to leave them.” Why doesn’t your child want you to leave her?  Is she just going through a phase of separation anxiety? Or is she scared that the big kid in her class is going to push her again?  Talking to your child’s teacher (and your child if she is old enough) can enable you to isolate the reason your child doesn’t want to be left at daycare. If it’s her first week in a new child care arrangement or the first day in a new classroom, she may just need some time to adjust.  However, if your child has previously been happy to go to daycare, there may be something specific happening at school or at home that has led to the change.  If there is a specific reason your child is acting this way, you may be able to address the problem and stop the tears.

2.     How do you feel about leaving your child?

When you drop off your child, do you act sad that you have to leave?  Do you feel guilty about leaving your child in another person’s care?  Children are very perceptive.  Even a young child can tell if you’re not happy about dropping him off at daycare. If you have a positive attitude and talk about the activities your child has to look forward to participating in with his friends, he will be more likely to look forward to daycare himself.

3.     Are your actions contributing to the problem?   

Avoid prolonging your goodbye.  Bring your child to his classroom, get him settled in, tell him goodbye, and leave.  If he cries, don’t come back into the classroom as this just makes the goodbye harder.  You may picture your child crying all day, but chances are your child’s teacher will calm him down quickly and get him interested in an activity within minutes of your departure.