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When does daycare get easier for toddlers?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
We started DD in daycare this past Friday. Just for some background on it you can see here:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1241424

Anyways, I've worked outside of the home on and off since DD was born (she's currently 1.5) and this transition seems particularly hard since at least when she was with a babysitter it was only for about 3 hours at a time. Now I'm working entire days so she needs to take a nap there too. Friday I spent most of the morning there but we had a huge tantrum when I left but at least she was able to take a nap there. However, she's normally not a very happy camper when she wakes from her naps and it's amplified if I'm not there. They actually called me because she was so freaked out when she woke up. When I got there she was sitting in her stroller with just a t-shirt on and no diaper (she wouldn't even let me take her out of the stroller and normally she pees on the potty after her naps but she would scream if anybody went in the bathroom with her and wouldn't let them put her diaper back on).

Monday we had screaming/crying the second we entered the door and pretty much non-stop until I left (she's always like that she cries while I'm there and stops normally shortly after I leave). But she refused to take a nap and again, she was already in her stroller when I got there (she seems to have formed a very strong attachment to her stroller since she's started and even over the weekend she'll want to sit in it for long periods of time). The morning we had the same freak out when she saw the place and I'm just hoping she sleeps... Tomorrow we're going to try to see if DH dropping her off helps alleviate some of the stress but is there anything else we can do?

It's frustrating because I'd like to talk to the workers there a bit when I pick her up, see how her day was, if she ate a lot, how long was her name, if she went potty on the toilet etc. but she's just so upset that we have to run home as quickly as possible. If anybody went back to work with a toddler how long did it take for them to adjust?
post #2 of 16
If she didn't start until just now, it's going to take a little longer than if she'd started as a baby. DS started at 9 weeks so he's always been fine and when changing providers, he settles in after a few days. But I've seen kids start when they're older and they're always pretty upset for first week or so.

It sucks, but she'll settle into a routine with the other kids and she WILL get to where she has fun with her friends. She may also keep up the crying at drop-off for a while. DS went through that out of nowhere when he'd been with the same woman and same kids since he was 9 weeks old. My sister was at the same place from a week old (no maternity leaves back in the day) and my mom said she went through the same thing...one day she just started crying.

DS is 3.5 now and he still has a couple of tough mornings a month.

Try to give her a couple of weeks. And if you can, tip-toe in when she can't see you at pick-up time so you can see how she is before she sees you. Seeing DS happy and playing always helped me. But don't be surprised if she bursts into tears when she sees you. Seeing Mommy at the end of the day is a whole lot of emotion right at once, so it's pretty common. Since she's stopping crying shortly after you leave, that's a really good indication that she'll settle in after a bit.

Good luck. It does get easier in most cases but it sure is hard in the meantime!
post #3 of 16
a quicker goodbye will probably help also. The longer you stay, the longer it takes for them to get used to it. So, a very quick I love you and a kiss, and a quick run down of what will happen that day, then pass her off to a caregiver and then a fast escape.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
a quicker goodbye will probably help also. The longer you stay, the longer it takes for them to get used to it. So, a very quick I love you and a kiss, and a quick run down of what will happen that day, then pass her off to a caregiver and then a fast escape.
We went through this too.

Here's what I did.

I talked up how much fun daycare was on the way to school. This sort of worked, for a while.

Also, when I had the time, we would go to daycare for a while on days I didn't work so that we could be in the classroom together to get used to it and to show my child that it was fun and safe to be there.

On days I did work, we did the quick, clinical goodbyes. That did help. Many days there were tears and screaming, clinging, clammoring after me with wide stretched arms. That is hard. I didn't stick around though (in the classroom). The teachers always scooped my child up in their arms to sooth him, and then I'd wait in the lobby 10 or 15 minutes to check in through the window. Most days the crying had stopped, some days not. It got more routine after about 6 months.

I don't know the age when it got to be normal. Anytime I've changed daycare days or increased hours, we've kind of gone through this. With an older toddler, I don't get the crying and tears, but I do get whining and my child running after me/clinging to me in the morning. Also, my child sometimes has pretended to be sick at school so that I will come and pick him up.

I still just try to talk up daycare in the morning before we go...how much fun it will be there that day, how lucky we are to have good teachers and good friends there, we check the snack schedule to get excited about the snack that day, etc.

It's hard...good luck!
post #5 of 16
DD started daycare at 2.5, we had a rough transition time, and even now (2 years later)) we have one day out of the month at least where she throws a fit and makes me feel bad. I agree that the quick good-byes are key even though it can break your heart. I also have found that DD doesn't respond as negatively if her daddy takes her in to daycare. If I drop her off it can quickly become a clingy tearful goodbye, when DH drops her off he doesn't have that issue.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
thanks everyone for the suggestions so far. Today both DH and I took her together. It was slightly better but she still lost it once we left. I thought yesterday things were looking up when I picked her up. She didn't cry very long and I even got to talk to them a bit. I found out that she only took a 40 minute nap, which means she needed a really early bed time (very hard on us because we had to do some shopping otherwise we couldn't eat dinner!). She actually freaked out completely on the way home from the store and cried until she threw up no matter what we tried.

Last night was also horrible. She woke up more than once and was totally inconsolable. She also threw up then too even though I was trying my hardest to calm her down. This morning we just had a super clingy toddler to deal with.

We've been doing quick goodbyes and trying to talk up how fun daycare is. From what I've seen the place is perfect for here and they really do a wonderful job with the kids. I just hope she starts enjoying it more soon. I really breaks my heart to see her like this, I even had some nightmares last night because of it (the little sleep that I did get because she was up so often).
post #7 of 16
I had to put DD in daycare in April, she was 14 mo. Up till then she was with my sister and her kids. It took her 3 months (!) to adjust. The first day was awful for her, even though I took her there about 7 times before. She even cried during the night in her sleep. She too stayed in a stroller and wouldn't get out of it all day. Up till recently she wouldn't drink from her bottle.
I tried various things: Bfing before I leave and when I pick her up.
I bought a book about going to kindergarten (it even has the sad part when Mommy leaves) and all the fun things done there, and I read it to her at home.
I brought a favorite toddler couch there and left it there for her to feel connected to something known and yet close to the other kids on the floor next to her. (I was against her being in the stroller, it keeps her away and above everyone).
I bought a identical bottle, identical to the one she prefers at home.
I say goodbye and leave quickly (also since I too am close to tears) and the caretaker holds her and takes her to see the turtle in the back or something else distracting in a back room.

It still took her a long long long time. She still is not happy when we get there, and I feel she wouldn't be happy anywhere else, otherwise I would have transfered her. I also fear that transferring her would upset any continuity she has gotten used to and that she would go through all of that again.
I wish I could be a SAHM but that is not going to happen.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sondacop View Post
I bought a book about going to kindergarten (it even has the sad part when Mommy leaves) and all the fun things done there, and I read it to her at home.
I love the book idea, what book did you have? DD really gets into books and I think that's something that might very well help her.
post #9 of 16
Is it possible this is just a bad fit? It might be a great place, but too much stimuation for her. Would she be happier home alone with a babysitter for another year? How do you think her personality meshes with the concept of daycare? My DD is very social--has been since birth. But I think daycare can be more stressful for quieter kids.

I am a big daycare proponent, we had a great experience, but I would give it 3 weeks and then re-evaluate if this is the right place for her, and perhaps look into some other options.

Lastly, your DCP should be actively trying to soothe her, make her more comfortable, and get her to enjoy/look forward to being there? Do you see that happen? Call them from work if you can't talk to them once you get there, or stop in to the admins office to get some advice/let them know your concerns before you go to pick up the baby (assuming there is an admin in an office there, it sounds like a center).

Also, I read your link--this is a German speaking daycare? It's tough to know if the language thing is increasing her frustration? I couldn't tell what you thought from your other post.

Good luck, I hope it gets better soon.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
Is it possible this is just a bad fit? It might be a great place, but too much stimuation for her. Would she be happier home alone with a babysitter for another year? How do you think her personality meshes with the concept of daycare? My DD is very social--has been since birth. But I think daycare can be more stressful for quieter kids.

I am a big daycare proponent, we had a great experience, but I would give it 3 weeks and then re-evaluate if this is the right place for her, and perhaps look into some other options.

Lastly, your DCP should be actively trying to soothe her, make her more comfortable, and get her to enjoy/look forward to being there? Do you see that happen? Call them from work if you can't talk to them once you get there, or stop in to the admins office to get some advice/let them know your concerns before you go to pick up the baby (assuming there is an admin in an office there, it sounds like a center).

Good luck, I hope it gets better soon.
Thanks for the ideas. It's actually just a short term thing for 2 months. We really lucked out to find this place since it's the only place in the entire city that accepts children on short notice and for a short period of time. We thought about getting a nanny at first but we'd be paying about 4x more and we didn't have a chance to interview anyone first before we came so we thought a daycare center would be the safer option (since they have a lot of rules, regulation, many people there etc.).

The first day that we went there DD LOVED it (I stayed with her for about 3 hours then). She's really social and was having a blast with the kids. Granted, after I left, and especially after her nap, things went downhill quickly. It's really just me leaving since we've experience this before at home (we're outside of the country at the moment) with her babysitter and it was a very, very slow adjustment for her.

They also really do try and comfort her. Many times I've arrived there and she was sitting with one of the workers there playing or talking with them. They say that after she we leave and when she finally settles in that she plays a lot with the other kids and seems to really enjoy it.

But we still have a lot of tears, both at drop off and pick up (although pick up is certainly getting better). We did make a mistake on Monday because I forgot my wallet and DH had to go in to pick it up after we left. They don't have a reception area so once you walk in the kids can see you almost immediately, especially if you're tall. Well, she saw Dh and even though we tried leaving they ended up calling me after 20-30 minutes and saying that she wasn't able to calm down, they'd tried everything, so I ended up having to go back without working at all that day.


It's hard because I think on the night/weekends she's much clingier because of it and sometimes we have HUGE tantrums because I walk to the other room to pick up something and return in just seconds.
post #11 of 16
Well, the book is in Hebrew so I don't think it will help. But I am sure there are other "X goes to kindergarten" books. If you can't get hold of a book you like- make your own: Take pictures of the daycare, the yard, the toys, the kids and the providers, you and DH drooping her off and picking her up. Set it up as close as you can to a typical day there. That will give a clearer view of what is about to take place, what to expect and after which activities to expect to be picked up in the afternoon.

Separation anxiety will happen in any daycare, so if you are considering transferring her to a different place be prepared to go through all of this again. If this is short term, as you say, for 2 months, your best option would probably be not to transfer her.

At home, understand her need to cling and to feel stressed when you leave the room. I know it can be hard for you to deal with a clinger and others probably will comment on holding her too much, and babying her and such, but I do believe that this need must be met. When I had to be out of sight I told her that I would be in the next room for a few minuets, I never disappeared on her. I talked to her from the other room or had my mp3 play music so that she could hear where I was. I played peek-a-boo at every chance, especially from behind doors and doorways. At home she clings a lot less now. In other settings she needs more reassurance, and I firmly believe in giving it to her.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sondacop View Post
Separation anxiety will happen in any daycare, so if you are considering transferring her to a different place be prepared to go through all of this again. If this is short term, as you say, for 2 months, your best option would probably be not to transfer her.

At home, understand her need to cling and to feel stressed when you leave the room. I know it can be hard for you to deal with a clinger and others probably will comment on holding her too much, and babying her and such, but I do believe that this need must be met. When I had to be out of sight I told her that I would be in the next room for a few minuets, I never disappeared on her. I talked to her from the other room or had my mp3 play music so that she could hear where I was. I played peek-a-boo at every chance, especially from behind doors and doorways. At home she clings a lot less now. In other settings she needs more reassurance, and I firmly believe in giving it to her.
Sorry, I guess, I wasn't clear in the original post but DD will only be in childcare for 2 months, meaning that she'll be at home with me again after that. So it's not like we're transferring her to another daycare or something. She will be back in this same daycare again for about a week a couple months later but that's it.

Eventually, I will be going back to work full-time but that might very well be in another country entirely (but one at least in her 3 languages, so at least there won't be a language issue again).

As for the clinginess at home, it was worse this weekend but then again DH left on Friday for a business trip, which meant that she hardly slept the entire weekend because she kept waiting for DH to arrive home... sigh.
post #13 of 16
Sorry you have to go through this, it is so hard to see them suffer, knowing there is not much you can do to help them overcome. All I can say is to hold her as much as you can, put her in a baby-carrier to free your hands.
You are lucky that it is only for 2 months! I wish I could stay home with my DD. Separation is so hard on her, this morning she looked so sad when I left for work, and when I came to pick her up, she burst in tears and cried till I bfed her. It felt like she was holding it in all day! I wanted to cry along with her.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sondacop View Post
Sorry you have to go through this, it is so hard to see them suffer, knowing there is not much you can do to help them overcome. All I can say is to hold her as much as you can, put her in a baby-carrier to free your hands.
You are lucky that it is only for 2 months! I wish I could stay home with my DD. Separation is so hard on her, this morning she looked so sad when I left for work, and when I came to pick her up, she burst in tears and cried till I bfed her. It felt like she was holding it in all day! I wanted to cry along with her.
Oh, I certainly know that cry. It's really heart breaking!! It feels like it comes from the absolute depths of her soul. DH can never bear to come with when I drop her off because he always feels like crying too.

I'm thankful it's for such a short time but I know my time at home with her is limited. I so wish I could just take her to work with me and she'd play along side of me while I worked on my computer. My stepmom used to do that with me, but I was a lot older then...
post #15 of 16
Yes, I know what you mean, twice I had to take her with me to work in the office and it is so much fun. She played on the floor next to me and slept on my coat. I got less work done, but I had no other option.
It hurts to think that she is 8 hours with daycare and only 4 hours with me till bedtime in the evening. I try to make sure the 4 hours are used as quality time as much as possible. Weekends go by too quickly, and she is growing up too fast!

I wanted to add - try sending her with a "scented" shirt of yours for her to hold and sleep with while in daycare. An unwashed pajama shirt of yours would be best. Smell is very important to babies, and to be able to smell you would help.
post #16 of 16
For DD, who was 16 months when she started, it took a good 2 months for her to get really comfortable and adjusted. There was crying - but I knew she was well cared for, and she did adjust. I knew we had finally gotten there when the caregivers started telling me about how they were amazed that she had started talking so much, so quickly (she had talked plenty at home, but not there).
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