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How would you approach three year old staying with grandparents?

(18 Posts)
GoodLuckTime Tue 19-Jul-16 12:37:35

DH is French, we have a three year old DD. We live in the UK, DH's parents in France.

From what I see French family culture often means grandparents having their grandchildren to stay for longish periods from very young. E.g, some friends of DH's left their baby with his maternal grandparents for a week to go on holiday when they were 4 months old.

DH's parents seek / crave this. They suggested we left DD overnight with them when she was 10 weeks old, and pushed me to bottle feed (we declined this).

Overall though, they adore her, and have a good relationship.

DD has done some one night sleep overs with my siblings and her cousins on my side. She enjoys it but is very ready to come home in the morning. But she's never been away from home for longer than a night. I could imagine her now doing two nights / a weekend but my parents are divorced and neither are in a position to have her on their own. So it hasn't happened. I have been away from home without her for two night stretches twice, which she has found tough but ok.

DH's parents are now suggesting (I suspect pushing and DH is watering it down) that she goes to stay with them in France for week without us this summer (we are visiting them as a family anyway).

I think this is too long, and too far away, especially given that she doesn't see them that often (this year she saw them at Christmas and then for one day in May). I think even if we saw them often and they regularly cared for DD a week is a very long time for a three year old.

Also, DH's parents are quite controlling. So I am not confident if she was staying with them, that they would contact us or keep us appropriately informed if there were problems (illness, homesickness etc).

However I suspect this will cause tension at some point and would like to find a compromise.

What do others do? I was thinking of offering:
- that they come and stay with us before we go to France. Possibly that DH and I have a night or two away
- DH and I have a night or two away during the week we are with them
- then once we have had success with those things, that she stays with them for a shorter period (2/3 nights) subsequently, but not this summer.
- that we build up to her staying for a week as she enjoys her visits to them without us and she gets older.

Very interested in what others think, especially about age of child / length of time away from both parents and the family home.

FreeButtonBee Tue 19-Jul-16 12:51:58

I'd not bother with the night in the UK. Better to skip straight to your step two. She will have had a good chance to get to know them over the weeks hols. Go for a night and almost full day each side on day 4 or so. See how it goes. They may find it tougher than they expect as well. Then get them to do a weekend in UK in Autumn then you can build from there.

FreeButtonBee Tue 19-Jul-16 12:54:35

Also I found once my twins hit three their memory for people go so much better. Both sets of grandparents and most uncles live more than 2 hours away (and my parents are a flight away). They remember them and chat about them even when they haven't seen them for ages. So their relationship will quickly build from here. And she won't find it so alien each time.

GipsyDanger Tue 19-Jul-16 12:57:45

If you are not comfortable with it, don't do it. Spend the week with her. To buggery what the gps want, if your child doesn't want to, there is your answer

GoodLuckTime Tue 19-Jul-16 13:05:51

Thing is Gypsy, it's not just what the GPs want, it's what DH wants.

I think he quite likes the idea of some time off! Also I think he wants to please his parents and feels pressure from them.

He is supportive of our family, eg me breast feeding and not wanting to leave a v young baby. However my approach, which is roughly attachment based, is very different from how his parents raised him, and what I gather to be standard French parenting today, which is much more command and control.

Overall I think he appreciates where I'm coming from, and talks about hard times in his own childhood (being left to cry in his room a lot, total parental control well into the teenage years) though perhaps doesn't connect this to his under confidence in adult life as clearly as it seems to me.

But sometimes I can see he thinks that the 'french' approach would be easier. With a more compliant child etc (I don't think that's a given, even setting aside the long term consequences).

bibbitybobbityyhat Tue 19-Jul-16 13:06:33

My mil started asking to have my dd for five days or so when she was 4 or 5 years old. I said no (because I knew dd would not enjoy it).

She went when she was older, about 7 or 8, and still found it difficult being away from home for such a long time.

Solasum Tue 19-Jul-16 13:11:50

I am fully anticipating DS spending a lot of time with his overseas grandparents when he is of school age. By then he will be able to communicate easily with them, and will have lots of holidays. Until then I think it would be mainly for their benefit not his (he is currently 2.5, and doesn't speak their language really at all). Ultimately you are the mum, and if you don't want to take them up on their offer, don't feel obliged to.

boopdoop Wed 20-Jul-16 09:06:15

I think building it up is the best idea, so one night when you are there, and see how it goes, and then a couple of days another time.... I don't think it's fair on your DD or you to go for a longer period of time straight off, especially as she isn't used to it, just because it's what they want.

Maybebabybee Wed 20-Jul-16 09:08:06

My four month old has been up all night teething. I'd be delighted to send him to France for a week <misses point of thread>

Luckystar1 Wed 20-Jul-16 09:13:26

Personally I wouldn't, but, I'll admit to being a major control freak so I don't trust many people to look after DS how I want it done (yep I know...!)

I also think a week is just a very long time. I still have a lot of memories of staying with relatives etc for a few days when i was young and I rarely enjoyed it.

MysteriesOfTheOrganism Wed 20-Jul-16 09:13:42

My daughter used to stay with grandparents for a week from age 3. We spoke every day on the phone. She wobbled a bit on the very first occasion, but not for long. After that she used to enjoy her holidays without us! Got thoroughly spoiled and had a whale of a time on trips out.

Clodthumper Wed 20-Jul-16 09:19:43

I think building up is the best idea too - I think you and DH going away for a night while you are staying with them could work well for everyone.

My DD first stayed with her own overseas grandparents for one night aged two - DH and I went out mid afternoon, stayed overnight in a hotel and returned the following day around lunch time. DD had had a good time, but was very pleased to see me.
At aged 4 she did 3 nights away with them, and from aged 5, 5 nights - we haven't done a longer stretch than 5 nights yet, and we have always done it in the middle of a longer stay with us all there.

Grandparents also visit us several times a year, and they do have a brilliant relationship. We are taking DD to stay with them again next week and she is very excited, and not at all fazed by the fact that we won't be there in the middle. It works very well for our family, and I'm glad we are able to do it. I was like you and didn't want to go too far too fast, so building up slowly was definitely the right way for us - though it did help that the grandparents were totally on board with it.

curragh Wed 20-Jul-16 09:32:24

We are in a similar situation with GPs living abroad.

Could you suggest the GPs look after DD for a couple of days in her own home? We did this when DS1 was 3 and we had a wedding abroad. Worked out really well, they all got to spend time together but in a familiar environment

Laquila Wed 20-Jul-16 09:35:03

I think I'd be comfortable for my nearly 3-yr old to stay with my parents for 2/3 nights - he's done plenty of one-nighters and they only live a few miles away and he (and I) are v close to them. I can't really imagine him staying with them for a week but probably by the age of 4 we'd all be fine with that.

I agree that you all going over, and then you and your husband having a night or two away is the best plan. Don't be persuaded into something you don't feel comfortable with, though - you won't enjoy it!

ineedwine99 Wed 20-Jul-16 09:40:27

If your happy with that OP it sounds a very good compromise, but they do need to promise to contact you should she get ill/become upset, she is your child and you they have to keep you fully informed, if they don't then i wouldn't let her stay with them again, and i would make that clear when arranging.
:-)

junebirthdaygirl Wed 20-Jul-16 09:48:56

I would definitely go for having one night away while on holiday there. One night in a hotel is a treat for ye. Leaving a 3 year old for a week is a stress so don't need that. GP are mad to think of taking a 3 year old to another country for a week. Just say no.
I'm a gm. My gd is 5. She comes here all the time. We have great fun. But she doesn't want to stay the night. Fine. The child is the most important here. GP demanding stuff like this and pushing it really annoy me. If you're dd went there and roared at night to go home what would happen? Don't do it. One night in a nearby hotel would be fine if you trusted them to call you if she cried. She is a tot for goodness sake. I have had much older kids here on sleepovers with dd who cried at bedtime to go home. Could call parents as nearby. In another country no way.

ajandjjmum Wed 20-Jul-16 09:52:42

I think for you and your DH to disappear for a couple of days (1 night) during the week you're over there would be ideal.

I know a lot of people of MN don't like leaving their children, but it's something we did regularly with my DP and the children's godparents. It was good for DH and I to have some time alone. I was hospitalised for 6 weeks before DD was born, so having DS used to staying away really eased the situation.

But you shouldn't be bullied into it - even nicely!

Artandco Wed 20-Jul-16 09:58:02

We do this. It's been great. Children have gone for a week to Greece from around 10 months old. Now 5 and 6, they go around 4 times a year.

In fact they are there now. Grandparents flew out here a week beforehand and spent a few days visiting other relatives, then stayed at ours one night. Then flew with children last Saturday back to their home. Dh and I will join them this weekend and spend another week out there all together, then all fly back.

Children love it, grandparents get time with them without us interfering!, Dh and I get tien to either do a manic busy work week so we can have a relaxing next week, or we take some time together also

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