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Letting toddler sleep over at Grandad's

(65 Posts)
cakesonatrain Fri 06-Jun-14 23:01:58

Now I know a lot of people do this all the time, from very young, and everyone is happy and has a great time, and that's lovely.
But we've never done it before, and I'm not keen.

So, I'm looking for mums like me, who haven't been apart from their young children very much, to talk to me about letting DS (2.10) stay over at FIL's house.

DS loves FIL, and has been out for the day with him several times in the past year or so. Apart from the McDonald's & icecream approach to childhood nutrition I am confident that DS is well-looked-after when with FIL. FIL & Mrs FIL have looked after her grandson loads from very young, so they have experience of little children.

DS has never had a night away from us. He nearly did when DD was born but it didn't turn out to be necessary.
I'm uneasy about the idea. Mainly I think it's "my little boy should be here with me!" but also what if DS gets scared/is ill and there's no mummy or daddy? Or he might fall out of bed! (Toddler bed with bed guard here, presumably single bed there, where bedguard would be too small)

Oh I know I'm being soft. DH doesn't get it though, so it's like I'm some crazy woman who won't let FIL have a sleepover with his grandson.

Is it just me? Or are there other mums who just don't feel quite right letting their toddlers stay over when it's not necessary?

Dickorydockwhatthe Fri 06-Jun-14 23:36:45

I was like this to begin with but I knew if there were any problems my mum would phone or text to let me know and I'd go get him. I also found it reassuring that my mum text me when they were in bed asleep. At the end of the day it is one night and the longer you leave the harder it will be for them to sleep out when they are older. I would let them sleep out as babies though but then I was breast feeding.

get him a bed guard for a single bed?

titchypumpkin Fri 06-Jun-14 23:40:29

I get it. I'm sure you'll get plenty of replies along the lines of "why would you want to stop DS enjoying quality time with his GD" etc, but I'm the same as you. DD is 3 and has never spent a night away from us and I can't imagine she will for a good few years yet (at least). My nephews are 8 and 6 and they've never spent a night away from DSIS either so it can't be that unusual.

Your call, if you don't fancy the idea just say no. If they're near enough to be able to take him out for the day then why can't they just do that? There's no need for an overnight stay.

LingDiLong Fri 06-Jun-14 23:41:25

I never felt comfortable letting mine stay anywhere without me when they were toddlers either - like you I worried that they would get upset without me in the middle of the night. They also weren't keen on the idea until they got older. Have you asked your DS if he'd like to stay at his Grandad's? If he's keen to do it and you live close enough to go and fetch him if he gets really distressed then you should give it a whirl! It was never a big issue for us because no-one actually offered to have ours over night at that age! If they'd offered and my kids had wanted to do it then I may have been tempted despite my misgivings.

titchypumpkin Fri 06-Jun-14 23:41:41

also, i never had a night away from my parents until I went on brownie camp (maybe 7 or 8?) and i was totally fine

cakesonatrain Sat 07-Jun-14 08:20:19

Thanks for the replies. I never stayed away from home until 8ish I think, then visited a friend (who'd moved away) a couple of hours away for a week so I'm not worried about having to do it early to get him used to the concept.

I haven't asked DS yet as FIL only phoned and asked last night when DS was in bed. I'm not sure he would totally understand anyway, and I don't want to plant the idea if we aren't going to do it yet.

CaptainSinker Sat 07-Jun-14 08:44:54

I felt a bit like this.

Then DP and I had to go for work together, for 2 nights. Dd was the same age as your boy. She went to mil and had a great time. I think it is important to remember that when children are secure they understand you are coming back, and can be comforted by others they know and love, if needed.

A night is nothing really and it could be lovely for your ds and dfil. You can talk to them about the practicalities. They aren't going to want your ds to fall out of bed either! Could your ds share a bed with dfil or his partner?

Mrsjayy Sat 07-Jun-14 08:53:21

You do what your happy with grandad and mrs grandad will cope they have had their own children but you are not there yet just tell them yiy would rather he was home in case he doesnt settle and he can stay when hes older, and leave it at that, fwiw my dds used to stay at grandmas and they never wanted us ever hmm

ManchesterAunt Sat 07-Jun-14 09:58:26

I think some things like this are not better for you. Perhaps if you are worried you will not benefit from a "night off".

But I think your son will benefit greatly from bonding with his grandparents having a special sleepover. I used to enjoy mine.

I think it's a part of letting them grow up - and I know at under 3 he seems so little, but gaining independence will be good for him to bloom his own little personality and stand him in good stead for school.

cakesonatrain Sat 07-Jun-14 10:12:56

It wouldn't be a "night off" anyway as baby DD will still be here!

cakesonatrain Sat 07-Jun-14 10:19:10

DS goes to nursery 3 days a week so he has plenty of opportunity to be independent.

Why does everyone want me to let go of my babies so soon? "get them to take a bottle so you can go out" "being at nursery will be good for them" "let him stay overnight at Grandad's". What's wrong with "stay with Mummy, she'll look after you"?!

Mrsjayy Sat 07-Jun-14 10:24:57

You are coming across as a teeny bit neurotic in your last post there is nothing wrong with keeping them with you but there is nothing wrong with letting other family members enjoying time with them he doesnt need to stay over anywhere but he can cope without you

Hakluyt Sat 07-Jun-14 10:29:23

I really wish I had got mine used to staying away when they were very little- the circumstances weren't right for us to try until dd was 6ish and she just couldn't bring herself to do it, and had difficulty staying away from home until she was 13. Her cousins all regularly stayed with grandma from baby hood and never had a problem.

It's nothing to do with wanting them to grow up too quickly. It's just a nice thing to do. I remember how miserable my dd was when she knew her cousins were having fun at grandmas and she just couldn't make herself do it.

fingersonbuzzers Sat 07-Jun-14 10:32:42

I get it, OP.

Though neither of our families are local so there aren't the opportunities anyway.

I just like having my family close. My DC are almost 6 and almost 4 and have spent a grand total of 2 (separate nights - a year apart) nights apart from us with grandparents.

It's just a preference, surely? It's not mandatory for him to sleep away.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Sat 07-Jun-14 10:35:22

No, too young.

They are still babies. Really, really small. If you think of it from the point of view of what's good for them - well, they don't need a sleepover to form a bond with the GPs - they do that by sharing day times - and they won't at this age remember the actual sleepover, so it's not about creating memories - that can come later, and I hope that at 6, 7, 8 then they most certainly will be staying over, having cake for breakfast and all that is brilliant about staying away from home.

At two, no matter which way you slice it, they will ultimately be happier with their primary carer to hand, and not having to sleep away from them.

Sleepovers at this age are about the gps- it's for their benefit. I wouldn't put that above my child's security. I actually wouldn't want to risk a 2 year old spending an anxious night wondering what was going on at GPS house and then feeling vaguely anxious that i was going to disappear whenever they saw them!

I also support what you say about nursery. My eldest had to go to nursery from young - when she was two, actually a huge amount was already being asked of her in terms of independence. The flip side of that was that she co-slept and never spent a night away from me - that was her security, her rock, she may have had to go out in the world and face new things every day without me there, but at night she knew what her routine would be. Something I am glad I never compromised on.

Plenty of years to stay with Grandpa when they can actually remember and take part in it!

randomAXEofkindness Sat 07-Jun-14 10:42:18

Excellent post Bruno: I agree.

Doubtfuldaphne Sat 07-Jun-14 10:48:25

Has he stayed there overnight with you before? That would help as he will be used to his surroundings. Are they a long drive away? I would let him if he says he wants to go, and just be on stand by in case he gets upset. Also buy a bed guard just to put your mind at rest. I stayed at my god mothers house when I was about 3 and it like a huge adventure! I still remember it now!

cakesonatrain Sat 07-Jun-14 10:50:43

Yes, I agree that my last post is a bit neurotic. I was just having a bit of a moment while BFing DD to sleep!
Great post, Bruno.

TheAmyrlin Sat 07-Jun-14 10:51:32

I think it's fine. Both of mine stayed regularly with grandparents (my DPs) from very young. They love it! To the extent that my DS insisted on them staying here for a sleepover when he was about 3.

Your DS will be fine. He's with people who love him almost as much as you do.
Is it because he's with your PILs? Would you feel happier if it was your parents? That was the case with me.

cakesonatrain Sat 07-Jun-14 10:51:37

He has never stayed there overnight. About 40 mins drive away.

Mrsjayy Sat 07-Jun-14 10:55:30

Its really ok not to let him go I wasnt having a dig honestly smile

LairyPoppins Sat 07-Jun-14 10:55:54

My mum is wonderful. I didn't let our DTs sleep over at her house until they were 3 1/2. I totally trust her with them but they and I were not ready.

ThisBitchIsResting Sat 07-Jun-14 11:02:50

I disagree Bruno. My DS is 2 and stays at grandparents for a night or two every couple of months or so and has done since he was about 20 months. He's never cried for me or DH, he loves his grandma and happily waves goodbye to us. When we collect him he runs around showing us all the stuff he's been up to with grandad in the garden and grandma in the kitchen smile it's so good for him. And bath time with grandma is endless fun of pouring with bottles and funnels and cups and splashing, and bedtime stories are grandma's books. It is genuinely a big treat for him.

I wouldn't leave a 3 month old, but providing you have a good relationship with grandparents and the toddler is familiar with the environment, I really recommend it. We visit them regularly, and often stay for the weekend altogether too.

It's good for DS to have a strong bond with people other than me. I know it's not always possible for various reasons but I think if you can, it's worth nurturing grandparents / aunties and uncles' relationships so they can care for your toddler too. I don't get the whole thing on MN of keeping your toddler with you 24/7.

And this is from me as someone who has sacrificed a lot to be a sahm and DS hasn't gone to nursery as I couldn't do it! (I know I'm lucky we had the choice)

Smartiepants79 Sat 07-Jun-14 11:03:41

I think you do what you feel is best.
BUT my DD has a weekly sleepover at her grandparents. She has done since she was about 2 and a half. It is the highlight of her week.
If you trust them then.......
She never went to nursery tho and never had a bottle!
I do think that it's a bit of a shame for his grandad. You're right that he doesn't NEED to go and its more about his GPs but he will come to no harm. Him not going is a lot about YOUR anxieties rather than his. So it's swings and roundabouts.
I would start to consider when you would feel comfortable with him going.

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