My son is unhappy since starting daycare: Advice?

I have a almost 21 month old son. Between 7.5 and 19.5 months my mother-in-law took care of him because I had to work. But we had some issues about my sons security last month and had arguments (long story but leaving him with her is not option anymore and quitting my job is impossible). So we had to drop him to a daycare. The place is good. We trusted them. I went with him for three days and made him warm up to the place. He was good at first but got sick and had to stay home almost 10 days. Now he went back it has been 5 days but he is extremely unhappy. He was an active, happy, playful kid but now he is whining or crying all the time. Always on our laps or breasfeeding ( i could not stop breasfeeding bc i did not want to make him feel more abondened with the daycare and everything). Where I live there is not really any other day care that takes kids at his age, they tell me he is mostly all right all day, stops crying after I go, eats, sleeps. But the moment he sees me he starts crying and runs to me. It is really upsetting for me to see my happy child son so sad and depressed. Has anyone had such experience, would he be okay in time? The day care tells me this is normal and he will get used to in time but I am not sure seeing him like this.

1 Like

My son is only 9 mths. Im definitely no expert. This is my first. But it sounds like separation anxiety. My little has been doing the whole screaming thing at night because he wants to be with us. I believe it will pass. Just be patient.


im sure being home for 10 days he just has to readjust to going there…however never ignore the signs that he may not be wanting to go for other reasons (mistreatment etc) …give him a little time if he doesnt readjust you may have to look into other ideas


My sons were like that when they were at daycare or even away at grandmas for a few hours. It’s normal for them to be extra EXTRA clingy when they get back to you. Try and keep a normal routine, give them the extra cuddles, it should wear off for them.


Totally normal to have a break down… as a child care professional they are well behaved all day for others that when he is with the one he loves the most and absolutely trusts he is able to let his guard down and have a meltdown… it will get easier as he is able to verbalize… its mist important he settles down once you leave… i have had the same baby since he was 6 weeks old 4 days 12 hours a day he is now 2.5 yrs old… after the holidays and his schedule gets messed up and he is away for a week or 2 he does the same thing. He crys and screams when they leave in am calms within 10 min or less then cries when picked up and will get clingy with mom


Sorry can we just say almost 2 year old! After 12 months we need to call them 1 or 2! I just don’t get this…


Sounds to me like he got used to being with you while he was sick and is now getting anxious about you leaving.

1 Like

Totally normal. They don’t have the vocabulary to tell you they missed you so they cry and get clingy. Having worked in daycare, they do stop crying after you leave and in my experience, are happy and well adjusted. Being out of the daycare for 10 days though will mean they have to adjust.


I can assure you from both perspectives as a daycare provider and a parent whom used daycare that this is very normal behavior. Most of the kids would cry or act sad when parents dropped them off or sometimes at pick up however with in 5-10 min of parents leaving in the mornings they would be happy go lucky kids. My little guy wouldn’t cry but the pouty lip and clingy hugs at drop off and pick up sure was affective in making me feel like poo. Yet when I would sneak in to see how he was doing he would always be running and playing. Unless he is having a complete meltdown fit kicking, screaming and completely fighting going in I wouldn’t worry to bad. Children know how to tug on heart strings and make us feel worse than we already do.

1 Like

I started my daughter in daycare at 18 months and it was BRUTAL. She could be heard all over the entire building, screaming and crying. Every day, it was just a drop and run deal. There was no other way to handle it because she was upset no matter what. It also lasted for a LONG time… about 6 months. I would walk to the front and watch her on the classroom monitors and after a couple of minutes, she was totally fine. Now, at 2.5 years old… she walks in independently (she insists that I not hold her hand :joy:), hangs up her backpack, gives me hugs and kisses… and walks over to circle time like it’s no big deal. It was a huge adjustment for her, but so worth it to stick it out. Hang in there!!!

Very normal…even at family babysitters…even when i come home from work when my babys been with her dad…she will start crying n whining as soon as i walk in and she sees me

It’s normal. My kids stay home with my mother while I work overnight…my 6 year old still cries when I leave and she’s never been watched by anyone else

Totally normal. My daughter had the same sitter since she was 8 months old. She went through it at drop off and pick up everyday. My second daughter went to same sitter at 3 weeks old and with both of them there ( 3 years apart in age) she did the same thing at about 8 months old too. My sitter, who was like a second mom to them would call me when I reached work, which was 5 minutes away, just so i could hear them laughing and playing. Your child will be ok.

Definitely sounds like separation anxiety. My 2 yr old is fine to stay with my aunt, she’s the best kid. But as soon as I get back she’s a total mess. She’s already dramatic lol. My 1 yr old has her moments but no where near as bad as my 2 yr old. My oldest was like that some when she was little, she’s almost 16. I’ve always been home with them while they are small so they just miss mom. I’ve heard they are the most comfortable around mom and let loose until they are with others lol. I rarely have a break from my 1 and 2 yr old so they are used to just me then something changes and they don’t know why. As he gets older he will get better with it.

Thanks a lot to all, I am really relieved after all these comments. Today he was better, he even stopped cryig before I leave. He seems to have flu again :woman_facepalming: teething again. All together we are all messed up. But now I have hope :slight_smile: He is very unhappy at home too. He does not want to sleep, does not sleep properly, always on my breast( he was not so into breasts even he was smaller) and we literally cannot make him smile, play or trick him into playing. He whines and cries ALL the time. Seeing his shoes and jacket, he escapes, does not even want to see them. Me and my husband really are stunned, never seen him so sad. Is this unhappiness after the daycare normal, too? Or again is it me being his emotional dumpster?

Totally normal at that age.