My child had a rough start to daycare a couple of months ago, where he vomited for the first few days and seemed like he would never settle. He eventually started staying for half a day, though he rarely ate or slept there. But through all this he was a happy baby at home.

Now the last 4 days have been full days, and his behavior at home has changed drastically. After the first 2 days he started crying hysterically (and inconsolably, sometimes for more than 30 minutes) at the slightest trigger, or when getting up or going to sleep. Spending the weekend at home made him much better, but by the end of Monday he was just as bad. He has also started lashing out with his hands and feet at whoever tries to comfort him.

He hasn't exhibited any of this behavior before, and it is quite worrying. I'm mostly worried about long term damage rather than the short term inconvenience.

Have any of you seen similar behavior in your kids? And can anyone point me towards any resources or NHS (UK) services that might help?

We are also considering reducing his hours to half a day for a few weeks if we can arrange the time off from work.

3 Answers 3


The acting up at home and crying is probably because of separation anxiety.Any time he doesn't see his parents, in his mind he goes back to the daycare and freaks out.

Give him as much snuggles and love as you can, so that he knows that he is loved and not being deserted.

Please don't punish him(for few days,till he settles down at day care) for acting out.He is not being bad.He is just scared

Whenever you drop him off, SMILE and say bye.They pick up on our body language.

Remember to always say that you'll be back to pick him up. Specify a time(like after nap/snack time etc)

Also, make drop offs quick..don't linger.. drop, kiss,bye out of the room

If he has a favorite blanket/soft toy let him carry with him to daycare(if not,buy something) and tell him its going to take care of him, when mom & dad are at work -- This helped a lot with my child

It will take time-maybe even weeks..so have patience.

Also,there's this book - Lamba Lamba goes to school(google it,I might have misspelled it..this helps a lot too)

And remember, this will pass(eventually)... They is a light at the end of the tunnel..however dark the tunnel seems..All the best!!!!


Original Poster here, and this is how it was sorted for my son:

We changed his routine at home, prioritizing sleep over eating when he arrived home (and would only try to feed him once he had a nap).

Also, before we brought him home, we took him for a long (30 mins+) walk on a trail by the river. Allowing him freedom to set the route and walk wherever he wanted.

We noticed that a combination of the walk and sleep reduced his stress levels and significantly changed how he behaved. That carried on to the day care as well. After 2 days of trying this at home, he stopped crying in the daycare as well.

Today was the first day he actually walked in himself (though he still cries a bit as we leave)

  • That's so nice to hear!!! There's nothing better than driving away after drop off when you know your child will be happy :) Give him some time.. there'll be a day when he'd look at you and wave bye with a smile. BTDT
    – sushtu11
    Dec 13, 2016 at 16:52

In my experience, (I had a kid in daycare but she was older -- 4 -- and working in a classroom next door to the toddler room,) I'd say it is perfectly 'normal' and your child is feeling some separation anxiety. The poor behaviour is probably temporary, he has no way to tell you his preference.

Your idea of reducing the number of hours can't hurt, and you could slowly adjust them in half-hour increments. If you are allowed to stay at the daycare (many will simply not allow it. I think that is not a good sign, but the parent has to go with the flow, not demand extras and help, not hinder.) you could help your child by showing that you are enthusiastic about the activity going on.

Most kids get 'over' it in a few weeks. You do need quality time when you see the child. Yes, you are likely in the car, but you can sing and talk and tell stories. Make the first hour home from daycare positive. Do not punish your kid for being upset -- just encourage them when you can. (So ignore the crying with sympathy -- you aren't mad but it is not a big deal and you do not bend over backwards, and then you encourage and build up and praise the moments when he is happy.)

The daycare teaching staff should have ideas.

My experience was in Canada.

  • I should add that it was also common to see a daycare worker comforting a crying toddler and trying to help them. Toddlers are stubborn little people, they can keep it up for a good amount of time. The teachers are usually very good with this problem; they certainly have plenty of experience.
    – WRX
    Dec 6, 2016 at 15:43

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