‘My daughter is hysterical at creche drop-off and collection. What can I do?’

Ask the Expert: ‘I have to leave her outside the building due to Covid restrictions’

‘Should I be considering a childminder instead?’ Photograph: iStock

Question: My 18-month-old daughter started creche three weeks ago and was happy going in and leaving it for the first week. Since then, she is hysterical at drop-off and collection. From her second week at the creche, I was not allowed to enter the building due to Covid restrictions and her creche had to change building.

I am told that she is mainly happy during her time in the class and that she becomes upset towards the time of collection. What can I do to help her settle there? Should I be considering a childminder instead?

I wish I could go in with her to the door of her class as this seemed to be working well in the first week.

Answer: Starting and settling in a creche can be challenging enough for 18-month-old children but the Covid restrictions can make it harder (staff wearing masks, social distancing at handovers, etc). In addition, changing a building disrupts familiar routines and can add to the upset for your child.


Familiarity, reassurance and consistency will help your child settle over time and some things that might help during restrictions are:

  • Identifying a single childcare worker for your daughter who can greet her in the same way each morning.
  • Arriving at a quiet time (before or after the usual time) when the creche worker can come out and give your daughter a little bit of individual attention with you present before she is taken into the creche.
  • Working out a plan together with the creche staff. They should be able to make other suggestions as they are usually very experienced with reassuring young children and helping them settle.

Alternatively, you could also look at a childminder if you have that option. This would allow your daughter to have a single consistent carer, potentially in her own home or in another family home. This could work better for an 18 month old, who developmentally responds best to one-to-one attention from a caring adult.

John Sharry is founder of the Parents Plus Charity and an adjunct professor at the UCD School of Psychology