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Helping DD (& grandparents) make overnight stays less difficult

(5 Posts)
hobie1 Wed 31-Jan-18 22:05:38

Help please.
My 9 year old DD is sociable, confident and outgoing. She has a sister who is 13 months older, and they are pretty good mates.
As a family we are close, and we have got support from my parents who live pretty nearby. The girls have stayed overnight with their grandparents a lot since they were tiny. Over recent years DD2 has become increasingly anxious about staying with her grandparents. It’s got to the point now that she worries for days before a stay. When she is there she doesn’t sleep well, and often my Mum or Dad find her up reading at 3am.
Unfortunately work commitments over coming months mean I need the kids to stay some weekend nights with their grandparents.
Any tips on how we can break the cycle of anxiety and sleeplessness that goes with every planned stay? DD2 is usually fine staying with friends (which older sister finds more tricky!).
DH and Ibhave tried tough love, bribes, not making a big deal of it, but over the last few years this problem has got gradually worse.
All suggestions gratefully received!

SprinkleOfInsanity Wed 31-Jan-18 22:07:06

Have you simply asked her why she feels that way about staying with them?

NorthernSpirit Wed 31-Jan-18 22:55:37

Why does she feel like this? What’s causing it? She’s stayed over since she was small and now she’s anxious. You need to understand why? Do your parents have any idea?

Andro Thu 01-Feb-18 10:11:40

As PP have said, you need to try and find the root cause, if there is a tangible reason that she can explain then you're half way to fixing it. Hopefully there is something specific, if there is then sorting the problem is likely to be easier (could be as simple as feeling that she has to be 'on' for the duration of the visit and she's worried about not meeting expectations/disappointing you or gps etc).

There isn't necessarily a root cause though, this could just be a wobble that has become a cycle because her earlier misgiving were not heard - she was bribed/treated with tough love etc. You won't like this, but if this is a wobble that has turned into a self propagating cycle then she needs a break - a block of time where there is no expectation on her to stay at her grandparents overnight. That could be weeks, months or longer but she may need time to break the link between overnights with gp's and the anxiety response. Making her stay will only make things worse in this case.

hobie1 Sun 11-Feb-18 16:57:13

Thanks all.
We have spent lots of time talking about it, but hadn’t found a root cause.
I came up with a theory (relating to a time a couple of years ago when they had to stay over due to an emergency when I was in hospital). I am surprised none of us had thought of this before. I’m unsure if it’s the real cause of the problem, but I did share the theory when talking with DD before the most recent over-nighter.
Anyway, I have just picked them up this afternoon and apparently everything went well. Who knows....maybe we’ve turned a corner. Maybe not! Time will tell.
H

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