My two year old daughter has cried since day one (back in September) when I drop her off at daycare. We are now in December. This I believe has now caused her twin brother to cry as well when I drop them off at daycare. I don’t know why she cries.

This is a private daycare, there are 3 boys younger than 5 yrs old plus my twins and my 5 month old daughter. The other boys don’t cry when they get dropped off although they have been going there longer. The babysitter seems really nice and gentle. I noticed the oldest boy she takes care of hugs her when he arrives and when he leaves. I’m not so sure what seems to be the problem, unless the babysitter is being mean to my daughter (I hope not!).

I don’t know what to do. In the beginning, she would cry, yell and throw herself on the floor. Now she tells me wait mommy sit down. When I tell her I have to leave for work she says no and then starts crying when she sees me walk towards the door. She will hold on to my leg and cry. This has caused me to be late to work almost every day. When I arrive to pick them up they are happy. They run towards me hug my leg and have a big smile on their faces.

Please help. I’ve thought about maybe switching babysitters. I don’t know what to do.

  • Do you know how long she cries? That would be a good indicator of whether this is true anxiety, or the "let's manipulate Mommy/Daddy game" that all children engage in at some point. Dec 5, 2014 at 18:44
  • The babysitter says she cries for about 3-5 minutes if i stay there longer than 5 minutes while dropping them off. She says if i leave right away she'll cry for about 1 minute.
    – Mari
    Dec 5, 2014 at 18:50

5 Answers 5


Based on your comments and my own experience, Drop the children off, sign the roster, and go. Do not converse, do not cave, do not look back, do not peek in the window.

Most of all do not apologize, or have an apologetic manner or tone of voice. That behavior says to your youngsters: "Mommy did something bad". which will make them worry about what you might have done.

Try to make everything about the trip to the sitter be "just another day, ho-hum". If YOU don't treat it like a big deal, your daughter soon won't, either. The flip side of this is, the longer you stay because of her pleading, the more she feels "in control" of you!

So be firm, be professional, and walk out.

  • 1
    Thank you. It seems everyone agrees to a quick drop off, the sooner I'm out the door the better.
    – Mari
    Dec 5, 2014 at 20:09
  • You're welcome. It'll be hard, I know. However, with us, once it came time to send the kids to preschool, I was the one begging them to wait long enough for a quick hug from Dad! Dec 5, 2014 at 20:18
  • 3
    Perfect advice, and a small suggestion. Our daycare came up with the genius idea of having our kids shove us out the door at drop-off. (We ham it up quite a bit.) They loved it, because they were in control of the parent leaving, and nary a tear was shed.
    – Valkyrie
    Dec 5, 2014 at 21:04
  • +1! If you're chronically late for work, it means you're letting this behavior keep you there longer - and that's why she's doing it, her behavior is working and therefore is being validated.
    – mxyzplk
    Dec 8, 2014 at 18:59

This is very normal, since you indicated they only cry a few minutes.

It can happen at different times with different kids, and it can be separation anxiety, which all kids go through - they have to figure out that they are different, separate entities from other people!

Our daycare recommend the following, and it works:

  • Have a consistent, quick, drop off routine. Hug or wave, tell them you love them, say bye and leave (or something similar)

  • Have them walk in on their own, do not carry them. This help with their independence, and lets them focus on the daycare teacher/nanny, their friends, the toys they like in their care.

  • Don't ever prolong it or feel sorry for them.

  • If you can, don't even go in there, simply stay at the door. This is their space, the nanny's space, not yours.

Consistency is key.

  • Thank you. I will try to make my drop offs in the mornings as quick as possible (: I didn't realize the longer I stood there the more my daughter cried until the babysitter told me. Thank you for your advice very much appreciated it.
    – Mari
    Dec 5, 2014 at 20:17
  • 1
    I agree with Ida's the most of the three here; the significant difference is saying bye. From what I've read it's very important to say goodbye - to let them know you're leaving - even if you say bye and then turn around and leave. Just leaving when they're distracted and don't realize you've left can cause abandonment issues. It may make it harder, but it's important to do.
    – Joe
    Dec 5, 2014 at 20:48
  • 1
    I would say though that I disagree with Don't ... feel sorry for them. There's nothing wrong with feeling sorry for them. Don't prolong it, sure.
    – Joe
    Dec 5, 2014 at 20:48

This is EXTREMELY normal, unfortunately. All three of mine had the same problem.

The fact that she's cheerful at pickup time is a good sign. She is probably reacting to the imminent separation from you, rather than worrying about the babysitter being mean. This is supported by the fact that the longer you stay at drop-off, the more upset she gets when you do leave.

As heart-wrenching as it is to leave your children when they're upset, it has to be done. Aim to have a quick drop-off, with a friendly smile and hug but no dawdling. The babysitter should be willing to help with this (prying off a clingy child, hugging to help her feel better, distracting her with books/toys) -- after all, the less drama associated with your departure, the less crying she has to deal with when you're gone!

Focus on the happy faces you see when you pick them up in the afternoon, and remember that this really is for their own good.

  • It is very hear-wrenching or it was in the beginning lol now I'm so over it but I was concerned that she still cries. But I guess she just needs to adjust. Thank you
    – Mari
    Dec 5, 2014 at 20:10

I read an article where it was suggested to turn it into a game where the child pushes you out the door.

For example you walk in to the daycare; like Ida mentioned let her be independent by walking and holding her hand. Sign them in, say hi to the teacher or whatever the normal routine is. Then you say, "Ok honey its time for you to kick me out" and then you let her gently push you out the door and she gets to close the door.

You can make it more fun by saying "Oh no do I really have to go to work now? Ok I guess your in charge right now so I have too." Or something like that.

There are no tears because shes in charge of the experience. Just make sure you teach her not to slam the door.


I had this same problem. After awhile I learned she loved the sandbox. So I would stick her in the sandbox when I dropped her off, and she couldn't care less that I was leaving. So ask the teacher if your daughter has something similar. Before the sandbox the teacher would just distract her with a book and point her away from the door as I quietly left.

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