What should I do if my child cries hysterically when separated from me?

What should I do if my child can’t be separated from me and cries hysterically when I put him in daycare?

It’s actually quite natural for children who are being separated from their primary caretakers for the first time to have an aversive reaction to the daycare setting, particularly if your child is younger or he hasn’t spent much time previously in the care of other adults or in the company of other children. 

Speak with the daycare providers at your school to try and determine a routine and ritual that will help your child with managing this transition.  If your day care provider is not willing to work together with you on a plan to make the transition smoother for your child, then I would suggest you consider a different daycare provider as you’ll want to make sure that you are entrusting someone who is sensitive to the needs of your child in addition to the needs of the other children in the classroom as well.

Given that children function best with consistency and routine, make sure that you provide clear expectations of what the day will entail.  If daycare is going to be a regular thing, try to make sure that you pick your child up and drop him off at the same time everyday.  Familiarize yourself with the routine of the daycare and enthusiastically tell your child about the fun activities he will get to enjoy when he is there.  In the first week or two, stay with your child at school for some time until you see him becoming acclimated to his surroundings, and then each day gradually reduce the amount of time you stay until you begin to see that he has a handle on things.  If your child has a favorite toy or stuffed animal that helps to remind him of home, allow for him to bring this to school as a way to bridge the transition and help soothe him if he starts to feel distressed.  Over time and with the right amount of consistency, your child will gradually begin to see that daycare is a natural part of his daily routine.