toddler tantrum

Why Do Babies Cry When You Pick Them Up From Daycare

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It is in the evening, you just got from work and are hungry for some dinner. You pick up your daughter from daycare and she suddenly starts crying uncontrollably. That can’t be good! If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to know why babies cry when you pick them up from daycare and what you can do to make it stop.

“Daycare drop-off is hard on kids, especially if their day hasn’t gone well, or if the child is feeling nervous about seeing you for the first time in a long time,” says Janet M. Wilkie at Psych Central. “Babies are generally less capable of expressing their emotions, so they’re more likely to cry than say, an older toddler who has a lot of loss to work through.” Here are possible reasons why do babies cry when you pick them up from daycare and how you can make it stop.

Toddler Bite

1. They’re Hungry

If your baby is hungry and you forgot to pack some food for them, they will probably cry until you feed them. Even if they have eaten already, they could still be hungry because their tummy just finished digesting their meal. You can try to offer them a drink or breastfeed them to see if that helps stop the crying.

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2. They Are Scared of Something

Some infants can be afraid of the new place they are entering, the people who are looking for them, or a scary situation that might happen at daycare. The child may be scared and cry because:

  • She needs reassurance that everything is going to be okay and to get you to help them feel better.
  • She is confused by the unfamiliar and by the new environment.
  • She needs to learn about the new routine and environment through observation.

3. They Are Nervous About the New Experience

Some babies are not used to being in a new environment or the extra people that are looking for them. They may be used to staying at home and being cared for by family, but being in a new building with people they don’t know can be scary. If you think your baby is feeling nervous at daycare, try reassuring her and telling her that you will take his hand the whole time.

4. They Are Having a Bad Day

It could just be that your baby has had a really bad day and crying will help relieve some of the tension she is feeling.

  • Tell her that you are there for her and will help her.
  • If she is crying, just let her know that she can talk to you.
  • Be available and interested in what your baby has been doing while they were away from you.

She could also be hungry again and have a stomach ache or diarrhea to top it all off. If you don’t think that is the case, you might want to call the daycare and see if they can go over what your child did during the day and what made her upset.

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5. They Are Upset With You

It is not uncommon for babies to forget who their parents are sometimes and become upset with them if they don’t like their new home or surroundings. “Babies may start crying when they realize they are in a different environment than usual,” says Dr. Janet Reid, a pediatrician at BabyCenter. If the crying isn’t that bad, you can gently remind them who you are and that everything is going to be okay.

“If crying has become a pattern, try not to get upset or angry; instead, be calm and keep talking quietly to the child,” says Wilkie. “Tell her she is safe, warm, and loved — it’s just that you need to give care to others before looking after her.”

6. They Are Tired

It is very common for babies to cry when being picked up from daycare because they are tired. “The child may have become over-excited and needed some peace as well as comfort,” says Reid. “This type of crying usually happens when the child has woken early or is only just falling asleep.” If you notice your baby is tired and starts to cry when you pick her up, try gently bouncing her on the bed so she can fall asleep again.

Hopefully, this will help your baby stop crying when you pick them up from daycare and have a good time at home. If the crying continues, it is always a good idea to talk to the daycare provider about what you can do to make it stop. While some babies are just naturally more outgoing than others and love meeting new people all the time, there is nothing wrong with being a cautious baby and having some separation anxiety at first.