When your child digs their heels in…quite literally

It is common for children to resist going to a daycare for the first few times. Yet, how do you explain a child’s sudden resistance about attending daycare after they have been through the drill for a few weeks or even months? This sudden turn of events could indicate a new development at the daycare that the child is uncomfortable with or could mean that the child is experiencing bouts of separation anxiety.

Depending on the cause behind your child’s behavior, you can implement certain strategies to help them cope with how they feel.

Possible causes of the child’s reluctance

The possible causes of a child digging their heels in the porch and refusing to budge an inch when it’s time to go to day care can include:

  • A change or issue at the day care
  • Separation anxiety
  • A lack of willingness to attend day care, simply because


Ways to help your child cope with how they feel

Some things in life are non-negotiable. And attending day care should certainly be one of them. There are certain things that you can do to help your child cope with how they feel without giving in to their demands.

  • Stay calm.

No matter what, do your best to stay calm and positive. Children pick up on feelings and your anger or frustration could increase the level of resistance that the child has to offer.

  • Find out if there has been a change at the childcare

Get in touch with your child’s caregivers, or better still, visit the childcare yourself to find out if there has been a change within the daycare. Maybe there’s a new staff member on board that the child does not like. Or the child could be uncomfortable with a new kid that has recently joined the day care.

Discuss with the day care staff the possible steps you could take to ease the situation for your child.

  • Help your child cope with separation anxiety

If your kid confesses that they don’t want to go because they “miss Mommy and Daddy”, you could help them use some coping strategies to deal with their feelings.

Give your child a family photograph or photo album which can help make them feel more connected to you, even as they spend time away from you.

Talk to your child positively about what they’d miss if they were to not go to day care. Also, when leaving your child at the day care, make sure that you have positive interactions with the staff. This creates a sense of trust and faith in the child with respect to the caregivers.

  • Helping your child deal with things they can’t control

Sometimes, your child may simply not feel like attending day care. In such cases, it wouldn’t be wise to give in to their demand as the child could take the cue that they can cry and flail around to get their way each and every time.

Instead, you can use some strategies to help your child cope with their feelings that could involve distracting the child with humorous games during your commute to the childcare or offering them certain choices to make. For instance, you could let them choose the song that plays on the car stereo while you drive down to the daycare. This helps the kid feel more in control and could lesser their resistance to something they don’t have control over.

Choosing an establishment that provides quality childcare can help your child feel more willing to attend daycare. Daycares in Brooklyn such as the Williamsburg Northside Infant & Toddler Center are known to provide a nurturing and engaging environment for children. This Brooklyn day care also offers several activities for the child to engage in and communicate through, including music, art, movement, construction and story-telling.To know more  visit: www.willnorth.org/


One thought on “When your child digs their heels in…quite literally

  1. Thank you for such a lovely post. Children will often resist going back to the day care a first few times that can be purely out of separation anxiety and since it is the their first time of a ‘sense to self’ , it becomes very important that they feel comfortable over at the day care center. A method I found very satisfying and successful was to encourage my child to interact with the other kids and just stand right beside them. Once they are all into the new things at the offer they soon indulge themselves into the activities and will urge you the next time go back there.


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