18 answers

Child's First Trip with Grandma


I was wondering, how old was your child/children when they took their first trip without Mom and Dad. My mother-in-law wants to take my 4 year old 2 states away, and truthfully, I just don't feel comfortable with it. It's not that she wouldn't be taken care of, I just don't think she is old enough. Am I being overprotective or is this a normal feeling when your child is this age? I appreciate any and all feedback! Thank you!

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So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for all your advice! It is so nice to hear from other mommies (and grandmas too!) about their experiences. My husband and I talked about it last night, and we both decided together we're just not ready for it yet. I'm sure in a year or two, I may feel more comfortable, but she's still too little I think. Thanks again!!!

More Answers

Out of necessity, we left my son with my mom for a week this summer. We were moving cross country (OR to NY) and I didn't want my husband to drive alone with two cats and a dog. We knew my son could barely do 5 hours in the car, let alone 5 days so he stayed with Grandma while we drove. They had the BEST time, I wasn't nervous to leave him because I very much trust my mom, but I didn't want to leave him--I love being around the little guy. His poor dad sobbed as we pulled out of the driveway knowing we wouldn't see him for a week. Of course, from our daily to semi-daily updates we learned our son didn't so much as shed a tear for us and the 300 pictures my mom took prove she wasn't kidding. I still wish we hadn't had to leave him on his 2nd birthday (parents of the year I know!)...But, for Christmas my mom gave our boy one of those online picture books that she made--Called "The Summer of Alden and Mimi" (yes, one week has turned into the summer :)...She wrote cute little verses about everything they did and he LOVES looking at the book and talking about everything they did. It is clear that it really was a special time for them. So, I don't exactly know what my point is--because on the one hand I hated to leaving my son (he was only two and hadn't ever spend the night away from us), but on the other hand it seems clear that this time is something that my mom will treasure forever and that my son really, really enjoyed. Good luck with your decision!

2 moms found this helpful

I think by 4 years old she is old enough to go with Grandma for a week at is time as long as you trust her and your daughter wants to do it.

1 mom found this helpful

My children were 2 and 4 the first time I left them for a long weekend with a trusted friend. I was nervous about it, but needed to reconnect with my husband so we together could be better parents. It turned out great for us. That said, you have to do what YOU feel is right. When a child is ready depends on the child, and the person who will be the care giver, and how well the child knows said person. If you do not feel your child is ready (you know your child best), than tell your MIL that you are not ready and want to wait a year. If you feel you are just being over protective, then let him go, but make sure he knows that he can come home when ever he needs.

1 mom found this helpful

Our oldest was 1 yr when he went out of town with my in-laws. They were going to the beach overnight and wanted to share that experience with him. I knew it would be hard to watch them "drive away" so I dropped him off an hour before they left (we all live in the same town). All the pictures they have are of a happy boy enjoying the sand and playing in the yurt.

1 mom found this helpful


What a wonderful thing that the grandparents want to be so involved and generous with your little girl! And, with every child, it is an individual thing whether they are ready or not for that to happen without Mom or Dad along.

I have three daughters, and each one had a different level of emotional need, independence, travel ability (though I have been traveling with all of them since they were infants), and idiosyncracies to deal with that only Mom knew and was sympathetic to.

My oldest went on a trip with Grandma and Grandpa to Disneyland when she was 4--and loved it and they all had a great time. My middle daughter was ready for a train trip with Grandma to their home on the other side of the state when she was 2 and 1/2--ever the adventurer and oh, so easygoing. My youngest has still, at 10 years old, not really felt ready to go on a trip without Mommy. She gets homesick easily and is emotionally more sensitive than her now 10 years older grandparents have the daily patience to handle. So when two years ago they proposed to give her the Disneyland trip, they included me along for the ride, and that turned out to be a good thing. She was a great traveler with me, but there were one or two times when grandparents just got tired and needed things the way they needed them at the same time she did--and it was probably a very good thing I was there to just take her off their hands.

Only you can know what level your daughter is at, and it can be hard to let go. But if your daughter doesn't have any particular unusual or difficult dietary or emotional needs, and if she is generally comfortable with overnights to their home, then she's probably ready for a longer trip. If she still wants you to be there if you go visit Grandma and Grandpa, you may want to consider other options--WHILE being very gracious and grateful to them. Maybe even suggesting a trial overnight if they are nearby and if that has not happened.

It's a wonderful thing to expand one's horizons and learn to cope with new people and situations, and I would never want to deprive a child of that opportunity with other family members. But everyone needs to be able to smoothly handle the unexpected, which happens on EVERY trip.


1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is 2.5 and she might be able to do an overnight at grandma's at age 4, but I wouldn't let her be further than a reasonable driving distance. If she gets upset and needs me, I want to be accessible. At 15, different story, but at 4, I want to be available to my kids.

1 mom found this helpful

And you wonder what if something happened to her.
That is a normal feeling. My oldest son went with my mom and stayed with her a few days at 1 or 2. But that was a lifetime ago.
My daughter now, who is 3 has never been away without us. My MIL has always lived 9 hrs away and now she is probably 68 to 70 hrs away (she is in FL) My mother was always about 3 hrs from me but never would have anything to do with her and has only seen her 3 times her entire life... my mother's choice. She is too involved and happy being solely in my younger sisters children's lives.
Anyway... if you are uncomfortable.... don't let her go.
Just explain to your mil that you are nervous and what if something happened. It is normal to be nervous and scared.

1 mom found this helpful

I would totally trust my Mother-in-law. My 4 year old would be fine with it. It really depends on the child and the mother-in-law, I think. I would prefer to go too but hey, if this is your only child...live it up. It's not often us Mommies and Daddies get alone time. Or, go with them.

1 mom found this helpful

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