We've just started daycare for our 2 year old toddler, and on the first day of settling in, he cried so bitterly that he made himself sick (puked) and we were advised to take him home. And on the second day, he did the same thing, but this time, I asked if I could wait in with him, and he seemed perfectly fine for the remaining hour.

What I would like to know is, what is the normal process for settling in? (I'm in the UK/Glasgow in case that matters). Our nursery recommended that we leave the child for 30 minutes and gradually increase the amount of time that we leave him there. However given that he makes himself sick within 5 minutes of crying, I was wondering how this would work? And is there any other way to settle?

He has been looked after by either me, my wife, or grandparents. He has never spent much time in the company of other kids, though he does get along with visitors to the house well enough. And he has only every made himself sick once before while crying in the 2 years at home.

2 Answers 2


The same exact scenario happened with my Son. He did not have any interaction with any kids before. While entering the daycare itself, he would imitate vomiting and in a few minutes he would vomit while crying the whole time. He would keep crying until we pick him up afterwards. Now when we drop off he runs inside without even looking back at us! (I live in India BTW)

it took a couple of weeks for him to get accustomed to the new environment. you could try the following.

  1. leave him in day care but do not leave the premises. he needs to know that you are close by until he is comfortable with the place.
  2. pack an extra set of clothes, towel, nappy to wash up and then continue till the session is over.
  3. for a few days let him play his favorite game/ play/ toy at the day care. once he is settled he can be introduced to the routine. if the day care allows, you could also send his favorite toy for few days.
  4. give breakfast in small quantities and couple of hours earlier, before dropping off, and pack some of his favorite snacks for daycare. Halfway through he will feel hungry and eating can calm them. once back from the daycare you can feed normal quantities.
  5. it will be difficult to see him vomit and cry a lot; but be brave. He will get over it soon!!

Also, you can expect the same if there is a long break (like holidays) but afterwards they tend to recover faster.

  • This seems like good advice to me, as does the other answer. I have little to add except to say that the first time we put my son in nursery (UK, Oxon) it was hell. He screamed the place down until Mummy came back. Later I (his Father) started dropping him off and he would cling to me and scream for me to stay. Within a week he got to being happy before I left the building, about a month and he would be happy before I left the room, now he leads me into nursery, gives me a hug and a cheery wave and that's that. It's hell at first, but they get the idea. Nov 3, 2016 at 0:03

The typical approach (leave the child for a short time, increase the time gradually) wouldn't have worked for our first child. It was a little difficult to get the daycare provider to agree to a different approach, but she did, and it worked great. He was 10 months old at the time.

A parent would sit in the room and read a book while the child played and interacted with the daycare provider and the other children. The parent was a reassuring presence. After a week of this, the parent stepped out of the room for 2 minutes about an hour into the visit, and then went back to the reading chair. The 2 minutes were gradually increased.

The entire process took a full two weeks. The peace of mind we had using this approach made it really worth the time we put into it.

Our second child was more easy going and didn't have trouble acclimating in the more typical way.

  • 2
    As a matter of fact, this is more or less the standard approach most daycares in Germany use - first a parent remains with the child, then they leave, but remain close by, then child remains alone. It's called "Berliner Eingewöhnungsmodell" (Berlin settling in model). Here's a short introduction in English.
    – sleske
    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:31

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