The child I nanny hates me!

I nanny a three year old. When he wakes up in the morning he calls out for someone to come get him. If I am the one to go get him out of bed he gets really upset and refuses to let me near him. He screams that he wants his mom or dad (they work from home).

The rest of the day he loves me. But not in the mornings.

What can I do?

Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

It seems like you are being extra hard on yourself here!  

The behavior he exhibits is pretty normal for a three year-old.  Sounds like he may feel more emotionally dysregulated upon waking and wants one of his love sources to help him stabilize that.  It's probably more instinctual and not personal to you.

Give yourself some credit for how things are the rest of the day---that's information that you've done well.  You even describe that he "loves" you!  That's huge!

Either way, I'm sure it's jarring to go through that in the mornings.  Is there a routine you use to help him make that transition?  I don't know what his parents' rules are, but there could be some ways to incorporate some predictable structure.  Maybe that means his favorite toy/stuffed animal paired with his favorite cartoon.  You seem very caring, so it's probably likely you are already offering some compassionate response to his upset.  It may help to have him take a couple deep breaths with you if he's able to help self-regulate.  He may not be responsive to that and that's OK.  Either way, it sounds like this is only happening upon waking.

Another thought--do his parents know this is happening?  Maybe they have some ideas about how to help soothe him or perhaps they have some strategies they can use the night before (e.g., talking to him about the emotions of the morning hours).  

Let yourself off the hook though--you seem to be doing a wonderful job with this kiddo!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Nikkita Stonner
Nikkita Stonner
Trauma Guru

It doesn't sound like he hates you, just misses mom and dad in the mornings. You could validate his feelings by saying something like "I know you want to see mom and dad right now, but they are working" and then give him a couple options of things that may take his mind off of it. This could be choosing what he has for breakfast or playing a game of his choice. If possible, it may also be helpful if you could create a routine in which he stops by mom and dad to say good morning. If this is routine, he will come to understand that he will be able to see mom and dad for a minute and not become anxious about seeing them. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Amy Higgs OTR/L, CLT, CAPS
Amy Higgs OTR/L, CLT, CAPS
Mobile Occupational Therapist: sensory bus for children with ASD, SPD, ADD/ADHD and trauma

Be lighthearted, this toddler may not be a morning person! He is most likely wanting to connect with either parent when he arises in the morning. It could be helpful to talk with his parents and establish a routine that he would be comfortable with. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

It is very likely the child is upset by the fact that the parents have left, more than that he hates you in particular.

The fact that by afternoon he is happy with you shows more likelihood that he reacts to the parents departure more than who you are.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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