Could daycare be traumatizing my 3 year old?

My 3 year old started daycare again after a year and freaks out when I leave.

After a year off of daycare, she started going back. She’s always been by my side and only ever stayed with me(momma). when she went to daycare before she was good. didn’t cry, just went in and played. Now she cries, doesn’t want to let me go and tries to run out. I reassure her and tell her I’ll be back in no time to pick her up. Now I’m starting to feel overwhelmed because I leave her crying and freaking out, could this be traumatizing her? What should I do?

(I’m back in university so daycare is the only option, since I don’t have a lot of family support when it comes to childcare)


Can you just ask her what’s going on? My neice will be 3 in October and tells my sister all the happenings at daycare; who got in trouble, what they had for lunch, if she watched TV or played outside, etc. She even told my sister that the daycare assistant spanked her own child and that it scared her.
If she’s not very talkative, I’m assuming it’s just the change of routine for her. Heck I was home with my kids for a year also and even at ages 10 & 8 they were groaning and moaning about having to go back to the sitters.
Have you asked daycare how long she cries for after you leave?

All children get upset when being left don’t stress she will settle. My kids all did it, even in kindergarten

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. Could daycare be traumatizing my 3 year old?

It could be the daycare teacher or something has happened and that’s her way of telling u


Talk to her teacher. Ask how she is throughout the day. Maybe she can send pics or videos of when she’s happy. Kids do go through separation anxiety and cry horribly when the parents leave but are fine after. Especially having mommy to herself for a year.

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I’m sure she’s fine! It’s just getting back into the routine if not being by your side. They need to have interaction w other children before they actually go to school or they’ll really be traumatized


It is most likely just a phase and NOT something the daycare is doing BUT if concerned ask to sit down with her teacher and director to see what can be done to make the transition smoother. My daughter went through this with daycare and going to her father’s house. She loves going to both now…

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Separation anxiety, she was younger last time, maybe more aware and attached now. Or something could be wrong at daycare itself. Ask questions. Does she stay upset the entire time or does she calm not long after you leave? That answer would explain a bit. Good luck

I think you should talk to her teachers to get a better idea. As someome that used to work im toddler classrooms as a teachers aide, toddlers would come in happy and ready for the day, and some still would have a hard time when it was time to say goodbye. They would cry for probably about as long as they actually saw mom or dad, would shed their tears and be fine the rest of the day.


Always listen to your children’s cues


Most of the time kids are fine after their parents leave


I’ve been in the childcare industry for 10 years. Seperation anxiety is a normal part of child development especially at that age. Some kids, it is super easy and some take months to adjust. Keep a good routine. Make drop off as brief as possible. Reassure her you love her and you will be back. The longer you are there, the longer she will cry. Keep in communication with her teachers to see how she does throughout the day. At my center we use a parent communication app to send picture and video updates throughout the day.

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I work in a day care.and it does take time sometimes for a child to adjust to new surroundings.

If your concerned definitely talk to them but seems very normal. Mom of 7 and my kids always cried at drop off for so long. Tbh my one daughter is in grade THREE and cries stoll when I drop her off at school. It’s never ended with her


My duaghter has went to the same daycare since she was four mknths old she got sick and was home with me for two weeks and now she cries every time I take her in the mornings she was diagnosed with separation anxiety.

Try to find out if there’s anything wrong happening to her at the daycare. Otherwise my 5 year old is like that too but she tells me everything, she just doesn’t want to be without me

It’s her age now. Look it up. You are good, just leave with no fuss no muss.

It sounds like separation anxiety. It’ll get better

I fill your concern, but you might wanna change your way of thinking, maybe something or someone has done something to her. And it could just be separation issues. Talk to her, ask some questions

This is something all kids do, especially with it being back the first time

I would call in 10mins or so and she was good

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My son did that for about a month when I went back to work. I communicated with the staff. And they always told me he stopped 5 minutes after I left. If you get there early. Try to play with them and interact. To get them comfortable.

I agree. Leaving momma’s side is always hard but once mom is out of sight the little ones are usually always fine. But it wouldn’t hurt to talk to the teacher and see how long she’s upset for after you leave!

She could have separation anxiety since she’s been back with you for awhile.

I used to watch a kid that didn’t like going back to his mom. She was abusing her kid. :grimacing:

My daughter did this when she was about two years old when we took her to the babysitter every morning. We found out later she was being abused by the babysitters daughter. Only realized this after we found bite marks all over her legs. I would try to get to the bottom of this because something could be very wrong.

I stayed home with my kids until my daughter was about 3. She went to a babysitter or stayed with my mom or their dad. But she still got very emotional and carried on for a while when I’d leave. It’s just the age in my opinion.

If it goes longer than usual, then something must be bothering her at school and that’s her way of letting you know. Just try and see if you can get her to let you know why she doesn’t want to stay.

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Kids don’t cry for any reason. There is always a reason.

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Pretty sure it isnt traumatizing her…some kids go through this especially if they are super attached to the parent. Separation anxiety can happen anytime…she will be ok and this shouldnt continue for long. Pretty soon she will be lookin forward to goin and seein and playin with her friends😊


I use to be a day care worker and that is usually a clue that something is going wrong at day care! Pay very close attention to your child! I’m 42 with a few years of experience!!


I can understand your concern and maybe even talk to a few of the daycare workers but it could just be her adjusting. You said she has been out for a year now and it’s been the two of you, could just take some time!

My daughter is also 3 and has been going to daycare since she was 6 months. She has just started doing this and it’s a faze. Put your mind at ease and speak to her teachers and I’m sure they will tell you 5 mins from when your gone she’s happy playing :relaxed:

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My kid did that… screamed bloody murder as I left. The teachers would call me and let me know he calmed down. Maybe you could ask if that could be done?

I totally get this, however at this age “stranger danger” is in full effect. They’re used to mommy mode, and being with you. If you guys have access to cameras as most parents do during this time, I’d recommend taping in occasionally to ease your mind mama.

My son was with me nonstop for the first 2 1/2 yrs. and had separation anxiety very bad.
When he was finally going to daycare without me I would give hugs and kisses as walking in and drop and go. Honestly staying makes it worse.
I worked in day 10 years and felt with it often. 5 minutes after you leave they are calm and good to go.

How does she act when you pick her up? My son was like this too, but by the time I pick him up hes had such a fun play filled day with friends his age (4) he’s totally over the fact I dropped him off

I own a preschool and have ran one for several years… this is completely normal! Normally they cry while you’re there… and maybe 10 minutes after AT MOST and they move on. When the kids at my school have a hard time saying good bye I always try to take a picture of them playing and send it to mom or dad (fairly quick after drop off) so they can see their little one is doing fine :heart:

Tbh, since she’s been in school and had that routine and then was back home with you and is now starting all over again… be prepared it could take a little longer to adjust and not cry at drop off, simply because that routine did stop at some point before.

I have kiddos who will cry at drop off every single day till mom walks out, and then when mom comes to pick up, they don’t wanna go.

Saying goodbye is hard for them. Even if they LOVE school and their teachers, we aren’t mom and dad.

If I were you, I’d ask the director for reassurance as for how long it takes her to calm down and ask for a picture… if she’s able too.
It’s a rule of thumb at my school that if a kid cries for longer than 20 min, we call the parents and ask if they have any advice or tips on how to calm them down. I would never let a baby cry all day… ever. IF this is needed, it’s only usually the first few days. Once they realize you ARE coming back for them, every single day… they learn to cope.

Prayers it gets easier for the both of you :heart:

I have this issue. My son has seperation aniexity really bad. Especially after his father left, it got worse. I call the daycare and check up on him and he’s usually just fine after I leave. Maybe call and check in on her?

How long has she been going to daycare? My son was doing great when he was in the toddler room but once he got transferred to the preschool room it was chaos. It took about 3 weeks for him to not cry when I would leave him. Give her some time to adjust :slightly_smiling_face:

Listen to Her …something not right. Check it out…just being a grandma💕

Kids go through phases. And as heartbreaking as it is for you, it’s somewhat normal for kids to do this. But it doesn’t hurt to try and find a solution. Maybe investigate and make sure nothing bad is happening to her at the daycare.


I have an in home daycare and I can assure you it’s the age. I’ve had the same kids, same routine, everything exactly the same, they’ve never cried before, BUT for a couple of weeks at a time they all go through phases of crying and separation anxiety. If your little one is anything like the ones I keep she will quickly settle after you leave. I do baby my little ones tho and try my best to help them settle instead of letting them cry it out.

I stayed with my kids and finally had to let go with daycare. My daughter cries all day but it’s something I wanted to pull them out of and bring them home but they will have to get used to it to start school. It’s reality. She will get used to it with time. I’m sure it’s not traumatizing her.

After you drop her off, sneak back and look into the door or window to see wats going on


Try to ask her why she’s upset or if the kids and teachers are nice to her. If she has fun during the day ect. My daughter started a new school and I’m going through the same thing. She says she has fun once I pick her up so I believe she’s just no comfortable completely yet.

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Is it a different day care ? If it is then she just needs some extra tenderness from the new teacher. Have a talk with the provider find out how she is when your gone. Get to know the other parents and their children. I run a home daycare. I have come across this with 3 yr olds. The minute the mom leaves some are just fine others need special attention, some times it’s another child that ends up helping the best. I call them a special friend. That friend greets the child and helps get the child more comfortable.

Sounds like separation anxiety especially if she is used to being with you almost 100% of the time. Kids get anxiety just like we do. My foster son had really bad separation anxiety when he was first placed with us.

I would take her in, kiss her goodbye then hang back and see if her crying stops. I’d want to spend a couple of hours there with the approval of the daycare personnel and watch to see how she interacts with the personal and other children.


I would say separation anxiety from not being away from you for the last year. I agree after you leave give it about 10 min and call the daycare see hows she doing. My daughter use to do the same thing. I bet when you get back in the routine of things she will stop. Good luck momma

As someone who cried every day going to school until the 3rd grade, separation anxiety is a real thing. try to make a game out of it. if she can hold it together when you leave and isn’t crying when you come back for her, she gets a sticker or a piece of candy or gets to go out at the end of the week to mcdonalds or something. 3 year olds aren’t on the mental level of adults and don’t know how to handle emotions of being sad so its an extreme for them. But if you reward the good behavior she’ll understand that going to daycare is a good thing. Unless there is something bad happening at the day care. You can ask her why she cries and freaks out when you leave. But you have to do it calmly and rationally and not sad or worried yourself. which is really hard. good luck mamma.

It’s separation anxiety


When kiddos in my classroom had separation anxiety I would encourage parents to send a quick video or voice clip over the center’s app. It works great when I watch kiddos from home too. It was always a nice way for kids to have that homely comfort when they were missing all the comforts parents bring. I even had one momma that would send a clip of her reading a book to play at naptime. The whole class would listen as they got snuggled up, and that lovely lady was over the moon about how much the children adored it.

It could be separation anxiety, but keep watch just to be safe. Check for unusual bruises, ask the workers how she was that day (pay close attention if they make quick excuses for any “slips or falls that may bruise later” or “oh her and so and so was playing a bit rough, but you know how kids are”), and ask her personally how her day was. It’s better to make sure sooner rather than later

she going through a rough time with out her mom been there i worked daycsre for many yrs,and it was not unusal for a child todo this,if yu still find this not right speaker to the daycare director and see if she can give yu any tips.maybe yur daughter needs one on one attention and needs to try going to a day home where there not so many kids.

In my experience it’s normal for your kids (at that age) to be upset that you’re leaving without them… that doesn’t mean that something isn’t wrong though. I’d pay very close attention and talk to the workers that are with her while she’s there.


I work at a preschool with extended care…we have some kids that come in crying everyday…99% of the time they stop crying once the parent gets out of their view! But I’ve also encountered daycares that aren’t very nice to the kids and I wouldn’t send my child there for a million dollars…if you feel like there’s something wrong, show up unannounced and see what is going on during the day

What you should do have that you can see her on your phone while she is at the day care and you can see exactly what’s going on.

I agree with Bristol surprise and karina honeycomb

Kids usually put on a show for parents and as soon as they leave they are okay. I would talk with her teachers and ask how long she cries after toh leave. Some children also have seperation anxiety. My daughter was the same was screaming and crying when I left. She had a very good and understanding teacher. She would take her from me and rock her in a chair for about 10 minutes till she calmed down and she was fine. She just needed a little help with transitioning. The school or child care service provider should be able to help on this situation. Also remember that this is what they deal with all the time. It’s their job and also they should have the skills to deal with this type of behavior. Wishing you the best I know it’s hard. Hang in there.

My son went through this also. Full blown meltdown when I would leave him at his YMCA across the street I would call when I class and he was perfectly fine had a great.time.playing and eating lunch it’s not traumatic unless it’s going on longer even when you leave does he do it for long after or just while you’re there then she’s fine when you’re gone?


I look at it this way, it’s better for her to go through this now than at Kindergarten. My mom had troubles with me in Kindergarten because I did the whole crying thing. Most Kindergarteners are used to it and don’t cry. It’s more embarrassing on them if they do this later in their life than earlier. So therefore, to me, it’s more traumatizing later on than it is right now. She won’t remember any of this when she is older but in Kindergarten she will.

It is separation anxiety…you have to sit her down and talk to her and reassure that she will be fine and mommy will be back and get her. When you drop her off just bring her to her room put her stiff away and leave. Don’t feed into her crying just send her on way amd don’t draw out the good byes. Also don’t let her see any look of concern on your face

It sounds;like separation anxiety. Don’t know. Do teachers;treat kid’s&todller(s)well? Isn’t she;making new friends?

Trust me somethings going on at the daycare

It’s separation anxiety it will get easier for the both of you in time but in those times you need to stay strong and be happy about her going in and try be excited for her xx

Change the day care
Something is so wrong
Do impromptu visits unannounced
There is something wrong


Maybe switch daycares and see if it still happens. I used to teach a preschool class at the swimming pool it was like a half day type thing. Some of the kids just scream when the parent leaves and some dont… 🤷 You can’t give in to it and coddle them. The best thing to ignore the tantrum. The teacher should wait it out and then when they are ready to play they will come around. You’d be shocked how quickly they stop screaming when you don’t acknowledge it.

Have yall not beard of the horrible things they do to kids in daycares this is from ex day care worker Im sorry something is not right if shes that terrified and used to run off and play now she is running out the door come on that is NOT A PHASE SMH!!

I had my son at a nursery for a couple of weeks and he would sob so i stood outside because they had window open seen me stood there and they closed the window so i could not hear him so i went straight back in took him out and he never went back there took him to a new one and he loved it i still feel guilty now for taking him there and that was 5 years ago something was not right there at all xx

This is normal. I am a nanny and many parents tell me that their children (also have been three year olds) do this. I think children get to this age and understand more what is going on and decide they don’t want it but all they can do is cry. When your daughter was younger so probably didn’t understand as much why she was going to daycare. It is so so normal so try not to worry. Also try not to linger when dropping her off as she will continue to cry for longer x

I work in daycare , this is normal especially after being out so long it will take the child time to settle and adjust into the nursery routine you can ask the nursery to give you a wee update when’s she settled normally they do stop crying shortly after parents leave x

When my son used to be with me 24/7 and then i went back to work he used to freak out, when i left and it was just an abandonment thing i thought i wasn’t coming back because we were together all the time,

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. Could daycare be traumatizing my 3 year old?

No. She will be fine.


Separation anxiety. It’s normal! She’s used to being with you. Maybe try a comfort item with your scent?


Have you looked into creche at university? Some have these on their campuses

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Yes! I worked in a day care with perfectly nice people, tons of upsetting things can happen. Even in the best of circumstances.

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All kids have varying degrees of separation anxiety when they start or restart childcare. It’s the same as us having anxiety with new things. I personally don’t like childcare centres and went with home childcare instead as they’re smaller group sizes. But it’s hard when you don’t have many options. Most kids are fine after regular visits, it does drag out if we hang around longer though and give i.v to their anxiety, i know it’s hard to walk away while bubs is upset, been there done that, but usually it gets better with more visits

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How is she when you pick her up? Is she happy, taken care of? Or is she eager to leave as well? Like can’t get outta there fast enough?


Same thing happened to my youngest and I toyed with the idea of pulling him out until his older brother said, " No mom, think about all the new stuff he’s learning. He’ll be ok." Spoiler alert. He was ok.

No she just has to get used to it. As long as she is been properly taken care off she’ll be fine!

She will adjust. It’s hard on both of you. If she doesn’t adjust in a couple of weeks, re-evaluate where you are leaving her but most likely it will be fine

Reenforce positively

Sounds like separation anxiety
I’m a nanny and we had this happen with the 2 year old
Mom and I worked together we had her leaving quick…a simple love you have a good day and hug and she would leave no matter how much he cried. She also gave him something of hers like a cup or blanket. The house has cameras and she was surprised how fast he calmed himself after her leaving.


At that age separation anxiety is normal & will pass. I’m a daycare provider and most kids stop minutes after the door closes. I think this is harder on the parents more than anyone else. Kids adapt!


Maybe someone is doing something to her there.


Either seperation anxiety or something is going on there or something is being done to her. If this happened the first day is probably anxiety If it happened well after you need to question her


My son was like that, when I picked him up he was happy and had a good time. Just took awhile til drop offs and saying good bye got easier for him.

If she crying after three weeks. Change the daycare. Something might not be wrong.


Your child has to go through this process… it is heartbreaking to see them cry before you leave, but it is a major element needed, and a natural progression. If they don’t have any interactions with kids, they will become socially awkward.


She will get used to it again, kids are very resilient. Does she stop crying after you’ve left?? My boy often did this, I would call the centre 20mins after leaving and he would be happily playing and enjoying himself. That phone call always put me at ease.

Yes… this happened to my baby. Took him to some cheap crappy daycare and my son gates it. He couldn’t talk yet but he cried everyday for 2 months. He was slays sick too. I get that that’s supposed to happen but he would be fine starting Monday and by Wed he’d be sick. Took him to the ER I think 5 times in 2 months. Dad decided to stay at home with him… then a yr later found a better daycare, more expensive of course, and not 1 issue.

Sounds like separation anxiety. She’s use to you always being there, especially since covid hit and everything was shut down. She’ll get use to it again. Instinctively, I’m sure you would know if it was anything else.


Maybe try and ask the daycare staff to distract her when u leave. Separation anxiety I babysat alot it perfectly normal they just don’t want to see u go they feel abandoned they out grow it in time. So talk to the daycare staff and see how she functions there after a while after u leave. Things will.get better mama, good luck

Its normal and it’ll be fine. How do they say she does through the day?


My daughter screamed every day for months. Then gradually it got easier. If not now with day care, she’ll probably at prek or kindergarten. She will be fine and I promise you teachers, especially at daycares, know how to handle this situation. They are trained to help with transitions like this.

Mine used to do it to me every day .I was told to wait after she was put in her nursery room ,not let me see her it only took a couple of minutes and she was fine. Sometimes they just like to play on our heart strings

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Thats a red flag to me switch daycares or investigate. Someone might be abusing the kids there