Child Refuses to Leave Daycare

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Toddler screams that she wants to stay at school

July 2002

I have a 2 month old baby & a 2.5 yr old. My 2.5 year old goes to day care and when I pick her up, she refuses to leave. I have tried a variety of things: pick her up earlier (so I can play with her), pick her up later, bribery (food, favorite toys waiting in the car for her), telling her nicely but firmly, or I just physically pick her up while she screams that she wants to stay at ''school''. I have tried to schedule her pick ups to get home in time to nurse my 2 month old. Most times, we end up staying at the day care for 30 minutes or much longer!

I thought about getting a timer and telling her when the alarm rings that it's time to go but want other thoughts on how to handle the situation. The majority of the time, she listens and follows what I say (she is 2 after all) but this is the only time it is a struggle! Thanks!

My 3 year old used to be the only kid who would sob when I arrived to pick him up. I took advice from one of the preschool teachers and my older son who both recommended having his favorite candy in my hand or promise of an ice cream if he came with me without making a fuss. At first I balked. Then I figured a little sugar was a lot better for both of us than a full-blown melt-down. It worked. Just a note - these things are always in flux. The past week (he's now 4) he decided he didn't want to go to preschool anymore so we're having meltdowns the other way. I hate 4. I can't wait until he grows up a little more... kj

It sounds like your little one is going through a LOT of changes right now. Would it be possible to bring the baby to daycare with you and let her take her time getting ready to go? How about going home and having your mother? aunt? (whomever is taking care of the 2mo) pick up your daughter? How about coming home on the bus or BART? How about bicycling? How about asking her why she doesn't want to leave and seeing what suggestions she has for leaving. kathy