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The opposite of separation anxiety -- when they don't want to leave daycare

2779 Views 7 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  idocrase
Doesn't it just break your heart when you go to pick up your DC from daycare and he or she doesn't want to leave?!

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Oh my! This is exactly what we have been dealing with. Our DS finally got into the best center in town (we've been on the wait list since I conceived). It has a great playground and they spend a ton of time outside -- especially in the afternoon. So I am always showing up to take him home when he is having a blast on the playground. He does run to me for a big hug -- then it is back to the slide!
I think some of it has to do with the way kids don't like change - period. So if you're home they don't want to leave. If you're at the park/store/friend's house they fuss when you announce it's time to go.

What I did when I saw some of this behavior was just show up at daycare and sort of settle in. I'd sit on the floor and watch Baby play. Pretty soon she was coming over to me wanting to engage me in her play, which I would readily do, with no mention at all about going home. Then she'd take me around to other diversions and after really not long at all - maybe five minutes (feels like a loooong time when you're tired and ready to go, though) - she'd 'come up' with the idea of going home all on her own.

It only took a few episodes like this and she now runs to greet me, grabs her coat and stands at the door saying 'home! Home!'
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when i go to pick up my dd - she doesnt want to leave because she wants me to share what she is doing. there are times i know are her favourite like storytime so i dont pick her up then or i go sit with her and listen too. if i were to say i will come back later she would be soooooo upset. she takes me around telling me all she has been doing thruout the day.

if they are having fun of course they dont want to leave. its not fair you are making them leave something they want to finish - either playing time or some activity time.

one thing i have realised with mine is she associates home with going to bed. she HATES going to bed so she doesnt want to come home. she wants to do something fun with me that doesnt include going home. so either i have a little treat for her at home or we plan to do something fun at home and then she is ready to leave.
We had an episode of this recently and yes, it did give me a pang.

I agree with the PPs though, it wasn't because he didn't want to see me or be with me. He was often engaged in a fun activity, and would have been more than happy for me to stay with him and play. He just didn't want to have to break off what he was doing just because it happened to be the scheduled time.

Some good suggestions I got were to make the time right after you pick your DC up very special, such as 20 minutes of "floor time" playing together when you get home, or to have a special snack or treat in the car for the ride home. Sometimes it helps us to give him 5 minutes to make the transition if he's doing something especially fun (last week he was playing with a terrific train set, and I had to give him a few minutes to wrap up his play in a way that was OK with him).

Still, yes, I agree, it can be hard.
I know that my girl's had a "bad" day when she sees me and immediately goes to find her stuffed bunny and her lunch box. Of course, she loves being outside so much, that those are usually days when the weather's been too yucky to be out....and the minute we hit the sidewalk outside her caregiver's house there's no way she wants to get in the car.

For me, the bigger pang was the day that she let me just put her down when we got there, and ran off to play, instead of doing the ceremonial transfer from my arms to her dcp's arms.
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Yes! I always try to remind myself that this is a sign that we've chosen a good caregiver though. When dd was smaller I used to think that her true ideal would be if I would just stay with her all day at the daycare provider's home (or DCP would live with us or some other combination).

Dd is in Kindergarten now and goes to the after-care at school but ds is with the same dcp. She and her children (6th grade - college) have really become an extension of our family. I don't know what she and I are going to do when ds is school age and not seeing her every day!
This happens to me, too. I realized that B really enjoys daycare - and she thinks that *me* with her at daycare is the best.

Now we have a long, involved leaving ritual - one book, get sippy cup, hug each caregiver, sign out....

I've found that having a small snack waiting for her in the car seems to help.

But really, I'm saddest on the days when she runs right to me, blanket dragging behind her and thumb stuck in her mouth - days when a quiet sad girl just wants to go home.

I used to feel "Oh! The providers must think I'm a bad mom! She doesn't want to go home with me" until I was around for the leave-takings of several other toddlers. Big big screaming fits, just like what B used to do before our elaborate ritual was established.
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