Posted in Behavior, Child Care, Preschoolers

2.5 year old adjusting to daycare/preschool

My parents used to take care of my 2.5 year old son while my husband and I were at work. He started going to preschool/daycare a month ago and he’s doing okay now. The issue is that even though he doesn’t fight it (like he does before bath time and bedtime) he whines and cries all morning while everyone is getting ready in anticipation of getting dropped off.  He wakes up okay, then the whining gets worse and worse until he gets dropped off. Through tears and sobbing he’ll say “Daddy will drop off”, “Mommy will pick up”, “put shoes on now”, “go to the car now”, and go through all the motions while crying all the way there (5 min away). He does something similar before pick up time. He’s fine in the afternoon but starts getting really anxious and whiny when it gets closer to pick up time and then it culminates with him bursting into tears and screaming “Mommy!!!” when I show up. Not only that but on school nights, he’s now waking up multiple times at night and screaming for Mommy. He sleeps really well during the weekend. It’s a huge change going from being the only baby being taken care of by grandparents to going to daycare, but by all accounts he’s doing well there and has many friends. He loves being around other kids and he’s normally super outgoing and friendly.  So how did your kids adjust to preschool/daycare and how long did it take for it to be normal for them?

  • 2Boys&aDog
    Mar 27

    How long has he been going to daycare now? If it hasn’t been very long then maybe he is still just adjusting to the change and time will help. I think it’s normal for toddlers to have that kind of anxiety. I’m so sorry for you and for him that this is happening and I hope it gets better soon for everyone in your family!

  • Mimi
    Mar 27

    Thank you! I hope so too. It's been 5 weeks now, he goes 3 full days a week. I knew it would take some time for him to adjust but I foolishly thought he would adjust much faster because he loves being around other kids and when I took him with me on the tour, he loved it so much he didn't want to leave. But of course I was there with him.

  • Angie
    Mar 28

    Ive seen kids take up to 4 months to get used to school or daycare, especially if they have been with the same caregiver since birth and are kind of shy. He will eventually be fine just make sure he is being treated well there. Ask him about his day after you ask teacher about his day so you can talk about it with him and show excitement too like “did you color a pretty picture today” “what did you eat for lunch, was it carrots” “what friend was nice to you and played with you today” “did anything make you sad”?

  • Julie
    Mar 28

    Awww, poor baby! And poor mama and dada!! So my first question is if you believe he’s having a good day. Does your center offer an ap where they update throughout the day with pics or secure cameras where you can peek in and see for yourself?? I’m only asking because some phenomenal daycares are just not the right fit for a child. One of my daughters classmates started at a different center and her parents just transitioned her to ours and she is doing a lot better. They said her old center was amazing and all the other parents and kids seemed to love it but she just didn’t click. Having said that, it is most likely just that your lil guy needs some more time. He’s been going for about a month but only 3 days a week...it takes more time to adjust when they aren’t there full time...my daughter started daycare at just 12 weeks old but 3 days a week at first. Once she got used to realizing I was leaving her she would get very upset. After 2 months I was back at work full time and she was there M-F and she quickly got a lot better. Her teachers told me that when students are just there a few days a week it takes longer to adjust but to DOES happen. So I think it will just take time. But I understand the mom guilt. If my daughter was narrating things like that I’d feel so dang bad!!!!! So I say that once you’re sure the center is a great fit, just keep doing what you’re doing and stay consistent. He will love it soon and you’ll be dealing with the opposite (where you go pick him up and he runs away from you because he’s not ready to leave😭😭😭).

  • Mimi
    Mar 28

    It’s kind of an older, mid-size, family owned facility so unfortunately, they don’t have cameras or update with daily pictures, but they do have an open door (with code) policy and you can pretty much drop in or call for updates at any time. On those occasions where my husband or I have shown up early or at unusual times to pick him up, he’s having fun/laughing with other kids. Then as soon as he sees us he bursts into tears as if he hasn’t seen us for weeks 😂. So I don’t know if it’s the best fit out there but it seems pretty good from what I’ve seen so far. Three days is not a lot I agree. I feel like we have to start all over again every week but I see it slooowly getting better. He has been with us or grandparents since birth and he’s pretty much the only grandchild here so he’s been very spoiled too😏. We do talk about school a lot and he seems to like it. He’s pretty vocal about things he doesn’t like, no mistake about that! I feel like he feels like we’re betraying him by leaving him or something… I just hope he gets adjusted soon!