Get in your kid’s head. It’s helpful to try to figure out why your child is trying to get you to bring her home or stay with her. Is she jealous that the baby stays home? Is he mad that there are no Transformers at school? “Playing school” with stuffed animals or drawing pictures about school, at home when your child is calm, may give you valuable information about your child’s thoughts.
But not too deep. Your child’s issue with school is probably some variant of the Central Human Problem (“I don’t always get my way. Dammit!”) being solved in a typical, immature, childish manner. You’re getting info to help your child solve the problem better vs. manipulating you or completely decompensating, nothing more. It’s perfectly reasonable for you to ask, and for your child to learn, that he has to go to school or indeed, wherever you tell him. Don’t make it a trauma.
Establish consistent dropoff routines. You’ve probably experimented and nothing really helps anyway, so pick what’s easiest on you personally and do it every day. Something very concrete and ritualized (a special kiss and a set phrase like “I love you, we’ll go home at 5:00”) can help signal your child that you are leaving right now, every time. Leave fast before your child has time to get into an “immoveable object” state. No muss, no fuss. Bracket the end of the day with something similar (same kiss, etc). Your child will still fuss and try to manipulate the situation but will stop sooner if nothing ever changes.
Playact a better response. Again while playing together with stuffed animals, dolls, or toys, model what a good dropoff looks like and feels like. For example when you are “running” the child toy, say something like “Bye dad! See you at 5! I’m gonna go play!” Basically you are scripting out what your child could do and think that would be more functional. A simple stick figure cartoon that you draw as you narrate a “dropoff story” can also engage your kid’s attention. With some kids you can even use gentle humor to act out the “wrong” way and then replace it with the right one. Repeat as needed especially after a vacation or break.
Support your child’s overall mood. Any time a child is decompensating, you want to take a look at the basics. Is she getting enough sleep? Eating well? Are there other areas where he could legitimately get his own way a little more in order to reduce overall pressure or just have more fun in life? It’s okay to release the safety valve to keep your child in an emotional zone where he is maturing, but not overwhelmed.
Let the daycare deal. You ain’t the first and you won’t be the last to have a kid rage at being left at school. If they want to kick your kid out, they can. Otherwise, just let staff and your kid work it out and try not to take it too personally. Some kids – especially very smart, very cute ones -- are extremely intense and persistent and they will wear you down and get you over the barrel if they possibly can. Keep it clear in your head that your expectation that they go to school is reasonable and that their drama will not solve their problem. Learning to cope will.
You can’t blame kids for wanting to be home with you. But you also have the right to send them to school and they need to learn to deal with authority and not getting their own way. It may take time and that can be hard on parents because we do love our children. Try to compartmentalize the dropoff drama as a few minutes of unpleasant feelings that you and your child must endure out of a 24-hour day. By following a predictable and consistent routine, play-acting how to do it better, providing a firm foundation for your child’s mood, and most of all accepting that your child will feel some discomfort in life, the dropoff drama can exit your life more quickly. Stage left.