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home, continue to scream or cling to you at drop off, don’t engage with the other kids or staff, or have become more withdrawn.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

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com


  • Such a shame but hopefully they grow to love it.


  • I found it was a stage. He went through a period of not wanting to go. But all my friends from mum’s group were having same issue. It seemed to be an age thing for us.


  • This is such a hard situation! My children don’t go to daycare but I had this problem with my son when he started kinder. He was so used to being home with me that he was so overwhelmed by his new environment. He eventually made a friend and loves to go now.


  • It’s important to have open communication lines with the day care and discuss any of these issues with them. If you are still not happy then maybe look at other options.


  • It is sometimes helpful for the child to see you interacting with the carer so that they know they are the parent likes them too. Doing an activity with the child at daycare before leaving can help and also informing the child the routine of the day like that you will be back after afternoon snack time.


  • I think it takes some adjusting to get used to Daycare, there are a lot of unfamiliar faces and different routines.


  • My son was loving daycare but the past month has started disliking it and will cling to me at drop offs, it’s hard to see them upset. His educators say there’s tears and then after ten minutes he will be running of to play. I’m hoping it’s just a stage he may be going through.


  • Communication is key and finding out why early, my daughter would always cry on the day her friend didn’t attend, we got the teachers to introduce her to play with a few other children and that helped a lot.


  • My grandson has been in childcare since he was 5 months old and still has bad days. It’s so hard for his mum when he cries at drop off, but she has to do it as both parents work


  • In addition to talking to your child, always have a chat to your child’s educators. Although not a blanket response, it is very common for a child to resist attending a service or separating from a parent, but then has a great day playing with their friends. I have had children scream & cry because they didn’t want to be dropped off and then scream & cry at the end of the day because they don’t want to leave. Every child is different, but in my experience, even the children who are hysterically crying as their parents leave are off happily playing within 5-10 minutes or less. If you worry about your child settling in you can call the service at any time to check on how your child is going. It is also not unusual for an educator to call you, just to let you know they have settle in and are playing happily. On the flip side, an educator will more likely call you if your child is not settling despite their best efforts.


  • It’s so hard leaving your little one all day with people who aren’t family! It’s important that you feel comfortable with who’s taking care of them and the kids they spend their day with. I’ve had to move my child recently due to bullying and it was such a hard choice, but ultimately the right one


  • Just a few tips as both an educator and a parent
    – talk to your child and see if you can help them understand why they go there
    – try and work out why they are not enjoying going right now
    – the night before talk to them about what tomorrow’s plans are
    – children will always go through stages. My 3 year old LOVES his daycare, but will every few months have a hard time on drop off (I work at his daycare so know he is fine within seconds)
    – talk to their educators, they are there to help!


  • I would talk to my child about everything and ask if they would like to move centres, I’d take some time off and look for a centre most suited to my child


  • It’s helpful reading this and all the comments too. My baby isn’t in daycare yet but I would hate for him to be unhappy there


  • I’ve always made sure when I drop off (as long as there is time) to have a friendly chat with the educators. My aim is to have my children see me happy to be with the educators so they will be too. My youngest, he is nearly 2, always cries when I leave but is happy shortly after I leave. My eldest wasn’t happy going at all for a little while and I found out he was being picked on by another boy. That issue seems to have settled and now he is happy going again. Kids can make us feel incredibly guilty very easily. Ask the educators what your child is like throughout the day, if you aren’t convinced with what they are telling you, ask for them to send photos to you of what they do through the day.


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