Thinking about leaving your toddler with the grandparents for a week? If it’s your first time away from your kids, you’re probably overwhelmed. And you probably feel some guilt. But here are the three reasons it’s actually a great idea to spend a week away from your little.
Why You Need To Hand Kids to Grandparents for a Full Week
You Need It
American parents are sleep deprived. Many lack the parenting village that previous generations benefited from (greatly, I might add). You need a break. And your romantic relationship is probably in need of a recharge. Time away from your kids can renew your relationship, recharge your batteries, and refocus your priorities. It will give you the opportunity to clear your mind and return to parenthood refreshed (read: no more mom-rage). So try not to let the mom-guilt get in the way of this precious opportunity.
It’s Good for Your Kids
Your kids are accustomed to having you at their beck and call. A little time away can benefit them greatly. Your toddler will learn to trust other adults to care for them. They’ll probably gain a little independence because mom isn’t there to do everything for them. And it will ease any separation anxiety your kids might experience.
You might also discover that time away from mom and their home fosters a sense of adventure and spontaneity. You may come home to bold, confident tots!
Grandparents Benefit Too
Grandparents who have a strong relationship with grandchildren and spend time caring for grandkids benefit in a number of ways. A recent study pointed out health benefits, including a longer life span for involved grandparents.
It’s also a great opportunity for grandkids and grandparents to get to know each other better and build a life long bond. You could even encourage your toddler to ask fun questions about their grandparents’ past!
7 Tips for an Epic Week at Grandma & Grandpa’s House
Ok, so I’ve convinced you it’s a good idea to leaving your toddler with grandparents for a week. But how do you pull it off? Here are 7 tips to pull off a stress-free week with your kid(s) at the grandparents house.
Discuss the Trip in Advance
Kids, especially toddlers, do better when they know what to expect. Describe your plan in detail. What time will they be dropped off at the grandparents house? What can they bring with them? Where will they sleep at grandma’s house? The more details, the better.
Set Clear Rules and Boundaries
I would caution you against setting an unmanageable amount of rules, but definitely think about the handful of topics that really matter. Do your kids struggle when they’ve had too much sugar? Set a limit on sweets. Are your kids monsters if they don’t get the right amount of sleep, be firm about bedtime (for the record, mine turn into total heathens if we miss bedtime).
Leave Special Surprises or Treats
Plan a couple of surprises during their extended stay at grandpa’s house. You might pack little daily presents (think small bottles of bubbles, kinetic sand, or their favorite pretzels), or send a gift basket of fun activities (like puzzles, board games, jump ropes, etc.)
Avoid the temptation to check-in a half dozen times a day. And don’t demand dozens of pictures each day. This is a huge distraction from your week long break, plus it’s added work for the grandparents. Helicopter parenting from a distance is never a good idea. You’ve set the rules, let the grandparents handle the day to day issues. Afterall, they raised you (or your spouse).
Have Realistic Expectations
Your kids will probably be angels while they are at their grandparents. You might even feel like they don’t miss you at all. First, that’s not true. Second, your kids are holding in all their frustration and will likely dump it on you when you return. Expect them to be a little out of sorts when the week long adventure has ended.
While it’s not a good idea to micromanage, it is a good idea to check in daily. If your children are struggling with your absence, having a set time of check-in can be helpful. They’ll do better when they know they get to talk to you at 4pm every day. And if your kids are OK, the grandparents will appreciate a daily opportunity to get your feedback or share fun stories.
Jump Back Into Routines Immediately
If your kids have developed bad habits or deviated from the routine, that’s ok! Jump right back into your normal routine when you return. You might have a rough day or two with tantrums or misbehaviors. But don’t let the bad habits linger, or they will be harder to break!
Short on time? That’s ok! Here are the big takeaways when you’re thinking about leaving your toddler with grandparents for a week:
- Send the kids to grandma’s for a week because you need it, it’s good for the kids, and grandparents benefit too.
- Use these 7 tips and tricks to ensure the success of your week long separation:
- Discuss the Trip in Advance
- Set Rules and Boundaries
- Leave Surprises for Kids
- Don’t Call 12 Times a Day
- Have Realistic Expectations
- Check-In Daily
- Get Straight Back to Routines Afterward