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My child won’t participate at daycare; why?
Q: My child refuses to participate in his daycare class. The teacher told me that he knows the information she’s asking for, but he only gets upset and says he wants me. What can I do to help?
A: Why don’t you go with him a few times and spend the morning watching, and participating whenever it’s appropriate? Getting parents involved in the activities of the centre is always a major goal of good childcare workers, so I am confident his teacher would love to have you. Of course, if you have him in childcare, you’re undoubtedly employed and may not be able to spend an entire morning there. So make arrangements to bring him an hour early some morning and spend that hour with him and whoever else is there.

Another suggestion is to allow some overlap time when you pick him up - that is, stay around for a half-hour or so. Over the years I have been fascinated to note how many children - even those who might have protested being dropped off in the morning - don’t seem to want to go home when their parents come get them. They start a little routine - running to the housekeeping corner and picking up a few things, picking up a puzzle, climbing on some apparatus in the classroom. If you’re like most mothers, when that happens you become impatient, repeating, “Come on, let’s go home.” I am convinced that what the child is trying to do is have his mother experience the day he has had. If you can stay with him a little while and let him, in a young child’s way, tell you about his day, you will be honoring his daycare experience with your attention. That will let him know you value it, and I think it will increase his willingness to participate in the activities arranged by the teacher.