Crying fits at day care

So my step son just started a day care/preschool setting this week. Every morning at drop off and every afternoon at pick up, he has these crying fits that range from controllable to uncontrollable. He will either just cry and say no or he will drop himself on the floor and flail his arms and legs (side note: he only does that fit when his mom drops him off). I’m asking for suggestions on how to make going and leaving from this new place more comfortable for him? When I drop him off, I’m his step mom, I only get the crying and saying no but he still walks in for me. I want him to love this place and make friends with the other kids and I also want him to know that someone will always pick him up at the end of the day. Help please 🤷‍♀️

  • anonymous mom
    Aug 22

    So first, it’s not likely but just make sure you trust his teachers and staff. I’m sure you do!! I’m Just saying make sure there’s not a real reason for the tears. After that, How old is he? The older they are the harder it is!! That said, my daughter has been in daycare since she was 12 weeks old and she *still* does this sometimes!! Consistency is key. Give him the same (or as close to the same) drop off routine every time. Bring him in at the same time, do whatever you need/think will be best to have that “thing” you do upon entering the room. It should be as quick and direct as possible, then the goodbye message, then leave. For us, I bring my daughter in, help her go potty and wash her hands, help her sit down for breakfast, then give her a hug and kiss and tell her I love her and I’ll be back after she’s had her nap and her afternoon snack. Every day I give her the same message. And every day, I come back for her at the same time. If the afternoon pickup is going to be my husband for some reason, I tell her that at drop off and then read my husband the riot act about showing up on time. Ha. With consistency, she is mostly okay. Today she had a meltdown and a teacher had to hold and snuggle her till I left the room and to be honest that happens about once a week it seems. But slowly, surely, progress is made. Just keep at it.

  • Bree
    Aug 22

    He is three years old. He has always been watched by family or friends since birth. So he has never been in a day care setting before either.

  • anonymous mom
    Aug 23

    As long as there’s nothing amiss with the center itself then just stay consistent with drop off and pickups. He will get the hang of it, it just takes time. You’re a good bonus mama for being so concerned 🤗

  • Melissa Harmon
    Aug 23

    This is more normal then you think. You don't see the other kids doing it, because they've already went through it their first year. Ask if it's alright for you to play on their playground before school starts. If so, just hangout with him, outside the school for a little bit, and let him adjust to the idea of going inside. Talk to him about what is happening that day, and what he can look forward to (ask teachers ahead of time), throughout the conversation let him know you will be back to get him at a specific time in the preschool day (nap-time, afternoon snack time, afternoon book-time, be specific, at the start or at the end of the event). Repeat it throughout your conversations like it is a mantra. Then at drop off, place him into the arms of the teacher so she is holding him while you say goodbye. The teacher needs to be holding him that way he feels supported before you go and the crying fits kick-in (what he is feeling is basically the equivalent of your first love breaking up with you) he needs to learn that you will be back and that you love him (despite your first love never coming back). Repetition will build trust. Do not say goodbye until he is in the arms of the teacher though. Once you say goodbye and your mantra of when you will be back (at recess, or afternoon snack, or nap-time) then go. Don't linger and don't look back. He's got to see your confidence in order to build confidence himself (you can cry in the car). His fits will probably only last 3-10 minutes and will get shorter. I've seen kids rage hard till the door closes, and then wipe tears, and go play, like nothing ever happened. It becomes a habit, then the habit stops one day, when it doesn't give them the results they want. Then you never see it again. On top of that, those that rage the hardest, also become the ones who love school the most by the end of the school year. They just have big hearts, with big emotions.

  • Nana
    Aug 29

    Be confident yourself (if you believe in the environment and staff) and the hardest thing is don’t linger. Talk ahead of expectations and the fun things he might do. At the end of the day ask him questions like “what was the best/ hardest thing about today. How did you show kindness. How did you show kindness.” Reward when drop off and pick up are positive. Tell him at pick up that (favorite toy or snack) is waiting for him in his car seat

  • May-Ling
    Aug 29

    our preschool suggested we pick up this book to read with our kids to get them used to some kind of dropoff ritual for consistency: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18419.The_Kissing_Hand