Toddler Cranky After Daycare? Here Are The Reasons

If you haven’t already been in the position where your toddler is cranky after daycare, then you will be. It is as certain as death and taxes! But what is the reason why they are so cranky? And what can you do about it?

In this post, I look at the most common reasons why your toddler is cranky after daycare.

You are undoubtedly aware that when your toddler has a problem, getting the reason is like dealing with an emotionally unstable international spy.

You can try and ask the question in many different ways, but you will not get the answer. Sure, you may get AN answer, but it will not be what you need to hear.

Your job is to run through a list of reasons why your toddler is cranky after daycare until you stumble across the reason, and all is well in the world again.

Here are the 7 most common reasons:

7 Reasons Why Your Toddler Is Cranky After Daycare


toddler cranky after daycare hungry

Besides being tired, being hungry is the most common reason why your toddler is cranky after daycare., especially if they are new and are not used to the whole daycare process.

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When my son first started daycare, the first thing he said to me when I picked him up was ‘I am hungry.’ Over time, he uttered these words less and less, and I have a theory about it.

When you are a toddler, some things in life can be quite intimidating. Starting a new daycare or school can cause them to experience a mini hunger strike.

There is also the fact that toddlers can be very picky about what they eat, and starting daycare will introduce them to a whole world of different foods that they may not have tried before.

It may also be that your toddler will go through growth spurts, and it doesn’t matter how much you feed them; they will still be hungry!

Hunger has been shown to have a negative impact on your child’s development, so if you think they are not getting enough food, then speak with the Daycare staff or load them up before they leave the house.

Ultimately, if your toddler is hungry, then your toddler is also cranky. It is an easy fix; offer them a healthy snack.


toddler cranky after daycare tired

I have never worked at a daycare center, but I would come home completely drained of all mental and physical energy if I did. Even dropping my son off made me tired!

Kids have far too much energy, and even when they are tired, they still want to play. It is built within them.

During daycare, your toddler will probably burn a considerable amount of energy and be tired. We all know what a tired toddler is going to be like, don’t we?

It is simple. When you get home from daycare, relax and chill with them. They will soon drift off to sleep, and you can carry on with your evening life.

The key thing is that you relax them. I found that using a baby/toddler night light projector works wonders for getting them to sleep.

When your child gets good quality sleep, it promotes their growth and development. So, always work on improving the bedtime routine!


toddler cranky after daycare being bullied

If your toddler is being bullied at daycare, they will definitely be cranky!

Bullying can begin at a very young age, so you need to be making your toddler aware of what bullying is. For a start, you need them to tell you if they are being bullied, and secondly, you do not want them to BE the bully.

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When discussing bullying with your toddler, they need to know how it makes people feel and the consequences of the bully’s actions.

If you think your toddler is being bullied, it is also important to speak to the daycare staff to keep a close eye to ensure that, if it is happening, they will stop it.


toddler cranky after daycare bored

This can happen towards the end of daycare when they begin to get bored with what they are taught.

Kids know when they are ready to move up to the next step in their learning, but they do not know how to tell you. If your toddler is cranky after daycare, it could be because their thirst for knowledge is not being quenched.

Please speak with the staff at your toddler’s daycare center and ask them to increase their skill level in teaching your toddler. Keep an eye on mood improvements over the next few weeks.

You Are Taking Away Their Fun

toddler cranky after daycare you have taken their fun away

For me, daycare is where I drop my son off, and I pick him up. If I were to spend any more time there, then I would need a dark, padded room to go home to.

For toddlers, it is different. They have friends, toys, food, and education all under one roof. They have had fun at daycare all day, and now you are here to ruin it for them.

You can make this easier on yourself by spending a bit of time playing with them when they get in. You can also give them something to look forward to when you pick them up, a treat of some kind.

Lack Of Attention

toddler cranky after daycare lack of attention

During daycare, your toddler will have grown-ups attending to their every need. Whether they want to play, eat, or or sleep, a grown-up is there because that is their job.

When they get home, and you have been busy all day, you want to chill out. Your toddler goes from someone constantly playing with them to someone tired and wanting to chill out. It is a transition that may see your toddler become cranky.

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The thing about toddlers is they know how to push your buttons, and if they are not getting the required attention from you, they will do what they can to get ANY attention from you. You may also notice this when they come back from visiting Grandparents or friends who also have children.


toddler cranky after daycare sick

If this is something new that you are dealing with, it could be that they are coming down with a cold, or the flu, or some other infection.

Daycare is a breeding ground for germs!

Ask them if they feel ok (good luck with that). Check their temperature (use a good thermometer). Do all of the things that you usually do when dealing with a sick toddler.

Oh, and dose up in the vitamins…because if they are sick, you will not be far behind. I guess you are already aware of that!


If your toddler is cranky after daycare, then it could be for several reasons. The reasons I have identified above are the most common.

If the crankiness carries on despite your attempts to placate them, then you really need to speak with the staff at the daycare center.

The daycare staff will have a lot of experience with cranky toddlers, and they may also be able to identify any reasons why your Toddler might be cranky after you pick them up from daycare.

Your toddler is cranky for a reason, and you need to find out what it is! Obviously, I say ‘simple’ in jest because we all know that it is far from simple, right?

Usually, I do not get past the first two reasons on this post before the mood improves.

Good luck!


About ME

Let’s start with the obvious, I’m a dad.

I have 2 kids. One was dragged out from the comfort of his Mother’s womb kicking and screaming, and the other was a little easier.

Dad Gold was created to give tips that I wish someone had given me!

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