Child Caring

Toddler's anxiety about day care is cause for concern

My son will turn 3 in September. He has been going to the same daycare for 2 years now and he still cries when I drop him off. He hates to go and asks me every day if it is daycare day, even on weekends. He will not eat there and he is there all day long and even regressed once I had potty trained him. He does not talk to the daycare workers much at all and still cries quite a bit even during the day. His brother is in school now so he comes over to the daycare now after school and he has an older sister and she is at daycare with him all day long. He still does not like to go. He follows her around and does not play with the other kids much at all.
I have made a good bye ritual and I make sure to tell him that I will be back to get him but he still hates it and cries a lot!
I am a full time student so during the summer I do take them out of daycare and then for my Christmas break they donít go either. But this seems like he should be out of this stage since he has been going for so long! Any ideas? Do you think he has separation anxiety disorder and if so what can I do?
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Dear Mom,
This is a troubling story: He's been going for two years, and he still cries? He doesn't talk to other kids or to the teachers? Does he settle into routines once he's there? Is he a happy-go-lucky guy at home or is he anxious there, too?
It's not unusual for a toddler to have difficulty settling down when there has been a change in his life at school (the absence or loss of a favorite teacher or playmate); at home (family stress, illness, financial difficulties); after a vacation such as your school break; or when there is significant inconsistency in care giving, limit-setting, or routines in either place. Typically, with support, patience and time, toddlers adjust. The transition ritual that you've created is exactly the kind of routine I would normally suggest.
I certainly can't diagnose this but because of the severity and duration of his separation anxiety, my concern is that this is not typical. I would suggest getting him an evaluation. If there is a sensory, emotional or behavioral issue, the earlier it gets recognized and supported, the better.
Start with the teachers and director. Do they consider his behavior within the range of typical? If yes, how can they help? Either way, I'd contact your public school system to see how you can get an early childhood evaluation; he may qualify for an early intervention program. You don't mention where you live but I'm linking you here to the MA program, to give you an idea of what might be available. And if your care-givers don't have a clue; aren't interested in helping; have noticed the behaviors in an oh-yeah kind of way but basically ignored them? Get out of there!
PS. How is an older sister with him "all day long"? I can't quite put that together unless she's significantly older, like on the staff?