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home, continue to scream or cling to you at drop off, don’t engage with the other kids or staff, or have become more withdrawn.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


  • My son goes through stages where he loves it one minute and hates it the next. there are some good tips here to help me


  • My son was not impressed with daycare and it didn’t matter how hard I tried to explain the good side of day care he would always find a negative. I spent most of my time in daycare with my son.


  • My son screamed and screamed, tried to climb the fence to follow us out, so I just stopped taking him. And had the same issues when he started kindy, only he couldn’t stop going to that class. My daughter loved it, had a few run ins with other kids, but other then they no issues


  • A lot of childcare centres give the children a choice of different diced/sliced fruit and they are allowed a second serve if they eat all the first lot. Staff soon work it out when a child always leaves the same fruit and substitutes accordingly.


  • My eldest decided she did not want to go anymore when asked why it was because at morning tea time all the other sandwiches were gone except the “berrymite” ones and she was sick of vegemite! She was shy and waited until the other children had their selection first. My other children went through phases of not wanting to go I I took them out for a week and they were then ready to go back. Sometimes they just need a break or want to be home with younger siblings.


  • I’m contemplating putting my baby into day care so I can go back to work and this is my biggest fear!!


  • I agree with that it’s important to find the root cause of your child disliking daycare. Every child is different and every child care center is different too. Finding the right daycare center / family daycare / child minder and the right school for your child can be hard, but is important


  • My son used to hate daycare unless I stayed then he just ignored me. If I left I was told he wouldn’t settle or play with any of the other children. Ended up finding a sitter who’s children were at school and she missed having little ones around. Through her he thrived.


  • It’s hard to see your child unhappy. She will get used to it given time.


  • Not all children like daycare – some just need a few more months to get around to being with all those other people especially if they are in a big family in the first place – they just need quiet time alone.


  • Initially my daughter was shy but this year her new educators have really helped her thrive.


  • Friends of ours had a daughter who was exactly the opposite. They checked out more than one daycare centre. The last one they visited the little girl went towards the other children. The teacher said to let her go to she how she interacted with the other children, especially as at that stage they had not long moved into the area. She had such a good time in the few minutes they were there filling out forms etc. The first official morning of daycare her Mum thought she may have an upset child when she left her. To her surprise, when they went through the gates before they were let inside, she told her Mum that she was Ok, that she could go. Needless to say she signed them both in. took her daughter to the room, spoke to the teacher and left quickly, signed herself and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry once she got in the car. I think she probably did a bit of both. Missy missed it on Public Holidays and asked when she was going again. At that stage she didn’t have any siblings and none of their new friends in this State had children around her age at all. Their other relatives all lived interstate. They moved here as the Dad was transferred with work. MInd you I know of children who cry when left, yet are sometimes reluctant when it is time to leave their little friends and go home.


  • My son hated it so much, we stopped sending him, only to be faced with the same dilemma when school time came…….and we had no choice but to keep sending him. It was awful. Luckily our daughter was the total opposite and loved school, daycare, childcare etc


  • OMG this was me!!!! Persistence and constant positive reinforcement won! I wouldn’t say she loves childcare but she doesn’t hate it like she did.

    • lol yeah once they make friends, it is a bit better for them


  • great to read


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