The first time my husband and I went on a holiday without our child, she was 10 months old. We left her with my parents, who had offered to take care of her for the week. Leaving kids with grandparents is never an easy decision to make, but we really needed to have some alone time.
Unfortunately, we were highly criticized for going away and leaving kids with grandparents. People obviously felt obligated to tell us that we are bad parents. Well, I don’t want anyone to feel like that so because of that, I’d like to share a couple of benefits of leaving kids with grandparents, and some tips that you should have in mind before leaving.
Kids that stay with their grandparents since an early age are more secure and independent
For some children, spending time away from their parents has proved to be really good. It helps them to be creative and to find different ways of entertainment without an adult being involved. Bare in mind that it’s their chance to have a break from their mom and dad, and there are different rules to follow, other people to talk to, and other situations to deal with, which aren’t part of their daily lives at home.
On the other hand, they begin to understand that their parents may be absent for some days, but they always come back. This allows them to develop enough confidence to be willing to spend time with others and that way they develop their social and communication skills. You can check out the book by Michael Thompson: Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow about that topic.
Children and grandparents enrich their relationship
This is a really important point because, especially among first time parents, there are cases in which children aren’t allowed to spend time with other members of the family, since their parents are determined to prove that they are self-sufficient and they don’t need help. This is valid, of course, but the result is that when kids grow up, they refuse to spend time with their grandparents – or anyone else – and just want to stick around their mom or dad. If this happens, later in time there may be a lot of regrets. So, don’t feel bad when leaving kids with grandparents.
Don’t think that because your parents want to take part in your kid’s life, they mean to treat you as if you weren’t good enough. What they really mean is to spend time with their grandchildren, spoil them in a way that you can’t, and create valuable memories with the kids. Giving you some spare time is just a plus, believe me.
Tips for leaving kids with grandparents
Make sure your kids understand that they didn’t do anything wrong
Some children may think it’s their fault that their parents are going away. They are afraid and feel a lot of anxiety when they are left with someone. That’s why, the best thing you can do is tell your children that you are proud of them, that you love them, and above all, that you are coming back really soon.
Create a detailed schedule
If you want your children to remember everything they have to do, or even if you just want them to feel that you are close to them, you can print a schedule with the days and things that you’ve planned for them. It may be fun!
Leave an emergency contact
This would be a phone number where you can be reached at all times. Also, just in case, leave the name, address and phone number of the hotel where you’re staying. You could give your parents or in-laws a copy of your itinerary, so they will know where to find you in any time.
Leave health information
If your children take medicines, be sure that you tell the grands the correct dosages and the frequencies they need to take it. Also, when leaving kids with grandparents, provide them with a list of phone numbers to use in an emergency, such as the pediatrician’s or the usual clinic you take your children to. Leave a copy of the children’s insurance card, and a notarized authorization that allows your parents or in-laws to be in charge of the medical decisions in case something happens.
Finally, you can also leave suggestions when leaving kids with grandparents, such as what toy to use if your kids are crying their eyes out, or what kind of foods they like the most. I’m sure your parents or in-laws will really appreciate that.
Have you ever left your children with their grandparents? I hope that you will find these tips for leaving kids with grandparents useful.