EMILY loved going to her last daycare centre - she was a happy and confident child with plenty of friends but now that little girl is unrecognisable.
When her family moved to another Melbourne suburb about half an hour away late last year, the then three-year-old started at a new centre.
Unfortunately Emily has had the opposite reaction to the new daycare and quickly began to dread going.
"If I tell her the night before that she has daycare the next day, she has a really bad sleep and a lot of nightmares," her mother, Sarah, tells Kidspot.
"Now we have fights to get ready and instead of running in and playing, she's quiet and shy at drop-off. I have been told she settles in but is not making friends."
The reason that Emily is so distraught about going to an environment that she used to thrive in is all because of one child.
"One boy hits and kicks her and won't let her play - if she joins the group he pushes her away."
After months of relentless bullying, Sarah discussed the issue with the centre.
"They just said that they don't get along and the boy is like that with a lot of kids, but she is more targeted because she fights back," Sarah says.
"They said they can't do anything because they aren't allowed to say no or put him in the naughty corner - or send him home."
Sarah loves the centre and doesn't want to pull her little girl out, but she may have no other choice.
"It's a brand new centre that only opened last year. It's big, clean and has lots going in - it's really great," she says.
"I'm really hesitant to change her now because it's too late to try to get her into another four-year-old kinder program this late in the year."
Her once happy-go-lucky child becomes utterly miserable the day before she is due to go to daycare.
"She is anxious, aggressive, has pretended to be sick, has tried to run away (thankfully her understanding of that was to hide inside the house and not actually run away)."
And then it takes the poor little darling quite some time to get over the traumatic experience.
"Then for days after she seems distant. She wants to hide in her playroom and not talk to anyone (except her nanny - my mum) she either goes off food completely or can't stop eating," Sarah explains.
"I feel like a monster - pulling her clothes on and making her go there when I know what's going to happen when she gets there.
"I'm so frustrated and feel so helpless about the situation. It just makes me so sad that she can't do anything to help her."
What would you do?
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished here with permission.