My baby started daycare at 9 mos. It's been two weeks and she still cries when we drop off and pick up. How long did it take for your baby / toddler to like day care and at what age did they start?

4 Answers 4


Crying at drop-off and pick-up is more of a separation anxiety issue, and it's totally normal. It has nothing to do with whether she likes daycare. What you really need to know is whether she cries throughout the day, or if the crying is limited to a brief period at drop off and pick up.

I used to sneak in to daycare at the end of the day and see my son playing happily with the other babies, but as soon as he turned around and saw me, he started to cry. It's fine.

  • 1
    thank you! this makes me feel a lot better. I'm going to ask if she's crying all day. super helpful advice.
    – user7883
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 19:29
  • I agree. It is really hard for the parent! Daycare may let you sneak in a bit early at the end of the day to watch your child playing happily. Seperation anxiety is a sign of a good strong bond with the parent. Good luck.
    – DanBeale
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 19:41
  • +100. My 2 year old is currently performing Masterpiece Theatre every morning: "We're going to nursery, yaaaay!" and then when we get to the door "No Daddy, NOOOOOO WAAAAH". One suggestion is to ask the nursery to take some pictures of her throughout a day to see her normal behaviour when you're not there as an audience.
    – deworde
    Commented Jun 5, 2014 at 15:35
  • Yeah, some drop-off crying isn't really something I'd worry about. After over half a year with his current daycare my 1.5y/o son still cries sometimes when being dropped off, but sometimes he cries when I or his mother leave the room for a while. It's just an issue with change, and so long as he settles down & acclimates I wouldn't sweat it.
    – Don
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 16:13

In my observation, separation anxiety is age dependent. At six months of age, babies tend to be relatively happy being left with a babysitter. At nine months, they have definitely formed attachments and will protest strongly when dropped off.

Unfortunately, there is not much to be done about crying at drop-off time, other than to say a few reassuring words and letting them cry it out. They will eventually learn that you will return every time, and be OK with it.


My little one began at 1y1m. The first 2 weeks was a progressive routine, with assistance from one grandmother.

Until today (2 months later) she still cries/ lay-down some tears when she sees me leaving and has to say goodbye or something like it, even when she jumps to her room by herself. But I know that she doesn't cry during the day.

She used to "cry" (some tears) when I was picking her up. Now she just smiles.

To see if she likes daycare, ask her "carers" (don't know how to say "ask the ones that take care of her at the daycare") what she does during the day, what songs they sing, etc., and do the same at home. You'll see if she likes it or have some frightened look.


Children will go through phases. I had two children in daycare since they were 6-8 weeks old each; neither cried at first (because that's too young for separation anxiety), but both went through phases in and out where it was easier or harder. Even after two years old, my oldest would still have weeks or months where he'd cry when we left. He would be fine within five minutes of us leaving almost every time, but he'd still cry while we were leaving.

More than likely, you won't be able to tell if your child actually likes daycare until they're close to two years old, but you can still look for clues younger than that. That's when we started being able to tell with our oldest, and we saw a change over the next six months compared to the previous year - he initially liked it, but by the time he was around 30 months, he began to be frustrated more and more (due to a few circumstances changing). We could tell by how he described his day (within the limits of how one can do that at 2) and by his attitude: he stopped wanting to stay at daycare longer.

For an infant I'd primarily look for him/her to be happy at pickup, but happy to play in the environment. See if the infant starts to interact with the teachers sometimes even if you are there. Those sorts of cues show that he/she is doing well, and a good fit at the daycare.

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