My granddaughter normally loves going to daycare. She loves her playmates and is quite happy. But recently she has started crying and throwing a tantrum every morning when it is time to get dressed and go to daycare.
I’m a bit of a paranoid type, so my first thought is, “Oh no. What is happening to her that she doesn’t want to go?”
Well, after a bit of research I learned a few things.
Something has changed
It wasn’t just her behavior that changed in regard to going to daycare. Something else had changed to cause the behavior change.
An article in Today’s Parent indicated that some change was probably the cause. The key was to try to figure out what it was.
We asked at her daycare. Nothing there appeared to have changed.
We asked her. She said the other two daycare kids were hitting her and pushing her.
Back to the daycare provider. The provider said that was not happening.
What we finally surmised was that my granddaughter was feeling anxious about the start of school. While she had gone to preschool the previous year, it was only two days a week for a couple of hours. She was going to kindergarten this year—all day, every day—and she was feeling apprehensive about it.
I studied psychology in college, but I am no psychologist! How were we going to help her overcome her anxiety about this?
Cindy Piwowar, who is a lecturer in early childhood education at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC, offers the following as ways to help with anxiety of this sort.
- Follow consistent routines.
- Spend extra time.
- Leave a reminder. This one works for us in a kind of reverse way. Our granddaughter will bring a stuffed animal with her to daycare and then give it to us to take with us to work so we “remember her.”
- Talk about saying “goodbye”.
We do all these things already, but we are more conscious about them now. We also implemented a “point” system at home so that if she doesn’t have a tantrum, gets dressed and goes to daycare without incident she can get a special treat when we do our weekly shopping.
She also gets points for doing other activities at home that are age specific, like taking a bath, eating breakfast and helping to clean her room. This has been the most effective thing, so far, in getting her to do small chores around the house and getting her to work on her own personal hygiene. (She loves taking baths and showers, so that part wasn’t a problem. Brushing her teeth? Now that’s another story!)
Other reasons for not wanting to go to daycare
There can be other reasons your child may not want to go to daycare, too. For example, according to an article on Your Parenting Matters, your child may be suffering from separation anxiety or may just be trying to see what they can and cannot control in their life.
Of course, the one that I think most parents fear, “is my child being hurt at daycare?”
With so many things that happen in this world, one of my spouse and my biggest fears is our granddaughter being hurt or abused (physically, sexually, emotionally) at daycare. We don’t have this worry at the family daycare in which she is currently enrolled, but the possibility always exists and always weighs heavy on our minds.
Keeping open lines of communication with our granddaughter is key. As is watching her behavior for any changes that might indicate there is a more serious matter.
My granddaughter is a “home-body” like me. In other words, she likes to stay at home and play. She often asks if we can skip daycare and if I can just work at home? I tell her that I would love to, but often I am not able to do so.
Raising grandkids/kids who are awesome
My granddaughter is awesome, but her tantrums had become quite a lot of work. It took a lot of work to figure out what the issue with daycare was and it turned out to not be daycare at all!
It isn’t hard to raise kids who will run your ragged and rule the roost. But it is another story to raise kids who are upright, honest and loving. It is difficult. You have to draw the lines and set boundaries. But ultimately, you have to be willing to listen, give lots of hugs and get to the root of their issues. We all have issues, our kids/grandkids are no different.
We want to see our kids succeed and listening, learning and loving them are three keys.
Tying it all Together
There are always reasons our kids don’t want to do something. It is up to us to figure out what those reason(s) are and help them to cope with the necessary things in life—like going to daycare and school. Teaching our children through listening to them, learning with them and loving them no matter what will go a lot further than anything else, in my humble opinion!
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About the author
Karin Nauber, “G.G.” is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 27 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. G.G. has five grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. She began this website with the hope of helping other grandparents who may be struggling with their role as parent/grandparents. If your would like to contact her, please do so at: firstname.lastname@example.org.