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Toddler Overnight Stay??

My daughter is 2 years old, and she has never been away from home overnight. My husband thinks it is time for her to stay the night with her grandparents (giving us a night to go out). I think she is too young.
I should add we weaned her from her pacifier in December, changed her daycare this week, will be moving in a month, and we are expecting a baby in June. To me it seems like too many changes for one little person to take on in a short amount of time. I would prefer we wait until she is old enough to understand why she isn't in her bed, and where mommy and daddy are when she wakes up.
Any advice on how others handled this situation would be wonderful.

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I have to disagree with you. Make a BIG DEAL about her getting to spend the night with her grandparents. Abbie spent her first overnight with her grandparents at two. EVERYONE enjoyed it. We made a big deal about her being a big girl and getting to spend the night with them.

My nieces and nephews had their first overnights at two and a couple of them even before they were two. If you are EXCITED about it, chances are the child will be, too. Trust me, the grandparents certainly are!

That does sound like a lot of changes. But if you make it feel like a "big girl" thing, maybe she'll be into it. I would try it out, but be prepared to pick her up in the middle of the night if need be to let her know you are not far away. Also, tell grandma to let her talk to you on the phone whenever she asks or is missing you, this always made my little ones feel better when they were away.

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Well I personally I think she's old enough. Especially if she knows her grandparents and they aren't foreign to her. My DS started spending at least one weekend a month with his grandparents at 4 mon up until we left last summer (he's 3.5 now) and I miss those wknds so bad. I always looked forward to that time that I got to spend uniterrupted with DH. You guys need that time! Plus his grandparents spoiled him rotten so he always looked forward to going to grammy and grampy's house!

I would prepare her for it by just telling her that she's going to her grandparents house for a couple of nights. Make it a fun thing. Maybe get her a cute overnight bag and something special to carry with her that she can sleep with. And maybe a picture book of the family that she can look at any time she thinks of you guys. But if her grandparents keep her busy, she won't have time to remember she's not home.

I think she will be okay. Your life is chaning alot right now but little kids adapt much better than we think they do. If you're not stressed about the situation, she won't be either. They usually follow our actions and only get stressed if they see we are. It'll get her socialized outside of mom and dad and give you and hubby some much needed husband/wife time HTH!

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I am glad to see so many people that feel you need to do this. These are a lot of changes for you, but for a little one, 6 months is a very long time to absorb these changes. It will be harder for you than it is on her. Remember, that you can call a couple times when you are away to check in on her. She will be fine and you really need this!! My 2 kids started staying at my in laws overnight once a week when they were only a couple months old since I have to travel each week for work. They have such a special relationship with their grandparents. If your in laws are excited to do this, you should go for it and have fun!!

1 mom found this helpful

Yes you will be nervous but DO IT!

Our son stayed with his grandparents overnight for the first time when he was 13 months old so that we could have a night away for our anniversary. Initially I was nervous but it was the best thing we could have done - for everyone in the family!

Mom and dad got some much-needed alone time (and we got to sleep in the next morning, too!).

More importantly though, the baby and his grandparents got to spend a lot of quality time together playing and being around each other. You'll be surprised at how A) resilient your child is and B) how much fun it will be for them to be with grandma and grandpa. These are the special times and bonds they create with their extended family members. And try not to project your feelings onto the situation; a new bed at grandma and grandpa's house can be a really cool adventure for a little one - how special for them to do something like this!

Take a deep breath, let go, and try to enjoy this rare opportunity of time alone with your husband and time alone for your in-laws to bond with their grandchild.

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Maybe now isnt the best time, but when would be? If you have a new baby coming in June, your 2 year old needs to be comfortable staying with someone so that your husband can be with you when the new one arrives. Even if you dont do it right now, it should be soon. It's probably going to be harder for you then her :) Little ones are more resileint then we give them credit for!

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Much depends on how fit and energetic your parents are, but assuming that they have no handicaps and aren't super geriatric, you should absolutely try it. Especially with the new baby coming. If she has a great time then you will be able to send her relatively often once the baby comes and she will have her "special time". Just be sure the grandparents understand how much sleep she needs etc.!

1 mom found this helpful

DO IT! It was soooo hard for me to do at first, and just before my first was 2, my family made plans to go to Tahoe overnight. It was for my dad's 60th, so I couldn't say no, and it was in a casino, so it would have been ridiculous to bring my daughter. In a way my family ganged up on me and made me bit the bullet and do it! It was hard, I missed her, but I ended up leaving her with her adoring grandparents almost once a week- she loved it, and still does! My second was only 7 months the first time I needed to leave her overnite, and I felt that was too young to be away so my oldest went to the in-laws, and my grandmother stayed at our house with the little one. Now I am a stay at home mom, so I sooooo appreciate the fact that my in-laws take both girls almost once a week for a sleepover!! The girls looooove it, and I miss them, but get a niiice break- and can sleep in as long as I want on Friday mornings!!!
You just have to take into consideration one thing- will your daughter enjoy it? I found that if I set aside all my own feelings (missing them, wondering if they would be okay- missing them!!) and really put my daughters first it was easier to let them go- meaning I knew it was such a treat for them, and they are getting some really special time with their grandparents. HTH, good luck!

I think this is the perfect time for her to stay and try it out because you may NEED her to stay for a day or two with all this upheaval going on. Look at this not as an opportunity to go have fun for you but instead as a chance to teach her a skill she needs (since nurturing ourselves is so much harder than doing what we need to for our kids). Two ways in which this helped us with our two year olds:

We actually sent our two year olds to live with grandma for a couple of days when we moved. For them, it would have been very traumatizing to see thier toys get boxed up and thier home empty. While they were away we took care of all their things and had them unpacked and ready for them when they went straight to the new house. This led to lots of excitement and no tears.

We were super lucky that we have taught our kids to love staying with their grandparents when I was suddenly hospitalized with my last pregnancy. My husband was away and couldn't get back right away, and a friend was able to drive them to grandma's where they though they were on vacation for THREE weeks. Because they have done this a couple of times already they had a great time - I was the one who was upset.

I exclusively breastfeed and don't use bottles, so leaving my children overnight wasn't even an option for quite a while. My son was 2.5 when we let him go to my in-laws' house for the weekend. He came back with a double ear infection. And, while I don't blame them, I'm also reluctant to send him away :(
Could they come stay at your house instead? We left both sons with my parents while we went on my husband's business trip. I think they were better off at home, in their own beds, sticking with their regular routines, etc...

Don't feel bad if you don't want to ship them off. Some parents are ok doing it before the baby is 6 months old, some don't do it for a long time. Do what makes you feel comfortable and don't let anyone make you feel bad for not doing what they want or think is best. Being a "good wife" doesn't NOT have to mean you spend the night away from your children. A night out with a babysitter is plenty.

My son has been sleeping over at grandparents since he was rather young. I work night shift and am a single mom--so sleep overs are how it works. (Otherwise he would be extremely exhausted since I work 12's I'd leave before his wake up time and get home after bedtime!)

As long as grandparents are up for it, you'd be surprised how much the kids LOVE it. They get "specials" that they don't always get at home. (With my son we save pancakes with lots of sugar and chocolate chips inside for weekends with grandparents). And you will love the chance to sleep in a little without a little one waking you up in the morning. Goof for all! A short period of time of distance makes the heart grow founder is SO very true!

I would always feel the same way, and still do sometimes when it comes to overnights. But usually my anxiety and reasoning had more to do with the fact that I simply didn't want to do whatever it was I was going to do that warranted an overnight babysitter! Spending time with her always trumped anything else.
HOWEVER...it is okay to have a night away and a big adventure for her. And yes, you and your daughter are going through alot of changes in your life but she is 2...you really don't have to walk on eggshells around her or she is going to grow to demand it!

That does sound like a lot of changes. But if you make it feel like a "big girl" thing, maybe she'll be into it. I would try it out, but be prepared to pick her up in the middle of the night if need be to let her know you are not far away. Also, tell grandma to let her talk to you on the phone whenever she asks or is missing you, this always made my little ones feel better when they were away.

Most little ones are not going to be scarred by an overnight with grandma and grandpa. Especially if she is with them often, safe, and happy with them, you have little to worry about. She will be fine, it is only one night, and she might just have a fun time.

I would be concerned, if I were you, about the mesage you are sending your husband. The are sensative creatures, but very simple beings, but they need to feel like they matter at this stage in your lives. The primary relationship is between you and him, and that is not how your post came off. I would just think about it, and if he is trying to tell you that he needs some time with you (from the been there, done that category after more than 20 years of marriage and 3 kids) I would listen and take it very seriously.


As long as she has spent time at their house frequently, go for it! My parents keep my 2 yr old son occasionally overnight. Not often, so it isn't a habit or anything, but when they have done it, everything is just fine. I agree that she should be able to spend the night with them when the new baby comes and a couple trial runs will be a better idea than doing it the first time when you are in labor. You don't need to be worrying about her and if she does want to come home, you can do that now, but you can't when you're in the hospital. (It would be great to be able to have her stay over while you are moving too.) I wouldn't do it this week after a new daycare, but in another week or so it should be fine. Kids are pretty resilient, and it is good to teach them to be so. My son would absolutely understand that he is not in his bed and that mommy and daddy will come get him soon. As long as the situation is trustworthy, don't worry. You will be awake and stressed out more than she will this first time, but you guys will all be ok! The last time my mom kept my son my husband was out of town and I came home late to a quiet house and couldn't sleep. I had to turn on the baby monitor to get the white noise to be able to sleep. :)

We started letting my daughter spend the night with grandparents as soon as I was no longer breastfeeding to get her used to it. It has never been a problem and has been a blessing when we do have a late night for a wedding or something. I think she will be fine, but mostly I would recommend starting earlier with your next child.

These little people are a lot tougher than you'd think. Going to stay the night with Grandma & Grandpa would be just fine. Rather than waking up & seeing Mommy & Daddy, she wakes up to see Grandma & Grandpa! That is so much cooler than Mom & Dad! Give yourselves a night out & trust that she'll be just fine. My daughter is almost 2 1/2 and had her first sleep over when she was about one month old. Not kidding. She has had many many more since then & loves it. :)

For me, this depends upon the bond between my child and the grandparent and how much trust I have for them. Starting around the first birthday, I was able to comfortably let my boys stay overnight at my mom's house. It also helps that she's only 3 streets away, so we are close if anything should happen. My boys love it there and see my mom at least twice a week for various things anyway (Sunday dinners, sporting events, Saturday morning movie trip, etc.). She is very involved in their lives. My dad and stepmom were not allowed to have my oldest until he was 3 and because I'm not particularly trusting of their ability to handle my son with his adhd and anxiety disorder, he only spends the night 2 or 3 times a year (he's 7 now). They still have not had my 2 1/2 year old. They live 30 minutes away and even though my dad only works 2 miles from our house and has been invited over and over, he chooses not to visit his grandsons. My husband's family lives too far away for regular visits, but I wouldn't trust his mom with a 2 year old either. God loves her and so do we, but she is so flighty! lol Hope this helps!

You are right and I think you would be asking for trouble with all the changes going on, so I would suggest that you wait a good long while, say at least 2 years. As the grandparent of 11, we never have our grandchildren over for sleepovers until they are established sleepers, and even then it is better if more than one stays the night.
Also, you would not be doing her grandparents any favors either by doing this at such a young age.
Ask your husband if he wants to break her of her pacifier AGAIN?

Well, just a week ago our 27 month old son stayed the night with his grandparents for the first time sleeping anywhere without us! Ok, so he is 3 months older than your daughter but it went GREAT. I'd say it depends on how well she knows her grandparents, and if she is comfortable spending a day with them (maybe 8 hours or so) without you, taking naps and everything, and she likes them, then she'd probably do just fine! It also depends on your childs personality. If she is really resistant to change and very attached to her routine, her bed, her parents, etc... then maybe proceed with more caution.

I have to disagree with you. Make a BIG DEAL about her getting to spend the night with her grandparents. Abbie spent her first overnight with her grandparents at two. EVERYONE enjoyed it. We made a big deal about her being a big girl and getting to spend the night with them.

My nieces and nephews had their first overnights at two and a couple of them even before they were two. If you are EXCITED about it, chances are the child will be, too. Trust me, the grandparents certainly are!

My daughter was 18 months old before we left her with my SIL and her family for the night. We had recently moved and were expecting our second child and she was a serious mama's girl so I was a mess; she didn't even know we were gone. :) It was harder on me than her. She actually cried when we came to get her! We stayed fairly close by so we could come get her if we needed to-- clearly we did not. It was a nice break for us and she had a great time. Can't hurt to give it a shot. Good luck!

I know this is a very hard decision. Ask yourself, Do I trust the grandparents, have they spent time with the 2 yr. old enough to deal with any situation that might arise, do you you and hubby need some time alone before the next baby arrives. If you can say yes to these, there is your answer. I allowed my son to visit for a week with his grandparents and it is one of his fondest memories. His grandmother has passed and I am so glad he is able to remember her and the good times they had together. His first visit was when he was two. So of course he remembers the later vists, probably when he was 3 or a little older. Follow your heart though because in the end you are the one you have to live with.

I understand she is going through many changes. However I read you are expecting a child in June. I assume you will be away from her when you deliever. Please start giving her opportunities now so she does not associate the change with the new born baby and resent her new sibling.
Perhaps start slow with a few hours during the day. Then add on time. But have her do an overnight say mid April then again early May mid May etc so that she thinks it is a reward. If you are fearful she will too. I remember my cousins at 11 and 12 crying at night because they had not stayed all night anywhere it was really frustrating. I did not stay overnights much but i never cried. I think how you handle it will make the most impact. kids are resiliant.
teach her to be strong and independant. to trust you will return as you said.
Best wishes.

Does your daughter see your parents often? Does she feel safe and comfortable with them? If so, then let her spend the night over there. My son started having sleepovers at my parent's house at 18 months. She will get spoiled and will have a lot of fun. Plus enjoy the free night!

I say you do whatever YOU feel comfortable with! My two children are 5 and almost 4 and I'm still not comfortable with the thought of them staying overnight with their grandparents! My husband is ready and thinks we need to, but I say no. As with anything in life, let your heart lead your way and if it doesn't feel right, don't do it. You'll know when you're ready. Best wishes on everything!

Wow! I am in the opposite side of the spectrum I guess! My daughter is 8 months old and has already had several overnights without us! She was born in June and on Halloween (she was 4 months) we hosted a huge party at our house which was her first overnight at her Auntie's house. I just didn't feel right about having her home while we had a big bash going on (and I didn't think she'd sleep!). It was great to sleep in in the morning and my sister brought her back at lunchtime so it didn't seem like so long.
This weekend Grandma is coming to stay with her all weekend so daddy and I can have a weekend in Chicago alone for my birthday. My mom prefers to watch her at our house rather than lug all the toys/baby stuff to her house, which is much easier for us as well!

I have known lots of children who were "afraid" of staying overnight somewhere else and I guess my thought was if they started at a young age they'd never have that fear of it because they'd know how much fun it was going to be!!! I want my daughter to be adventurous and independent when she gets older....not the one clinging to mommy crying when she has her first sleep over with friends.

Even though there seems to be a lot going on right now- I think now is the best time! Make a big deal about it to her and how much fun it's gonna be and she'll follow your lead! I think the longer you wait the worse it will be, and besides, with a baby due in June you and your husband could surely use an overnight to yourselves!!! Good Luck!

You are very fortunate that the grandparents want to take her overnight. She will have an amazing time :) I don't think it will phase her at all about the bed or mommy and daddy not there in the morning. She will be having too much fun on her little adventure to realize. Don't worry. I think it is a wonderful bonding experience between them.

Go have fun and enjoy a night with your husband before the new baby gets here :)

If you don't start letting her go now she will never want to leave. I know this from experience. And as a grandma having them spend the night once-in-awhile is the most wonderful thing. If you have a cell phone you can always call and make sure everything is going ok.

I agree with your husband 100%. It's important that you get away every once in a while and it gives the grandparents some very special time with their grandchild. Does she see them very often? If so, then spending the night shouldn't be traumatic for her. However, if she doesn't know them, then you need to get her used to them first. I'm not saying you should leave her every weekend, but a night away now and then is good for all of you. Go out and have a good time with your husband - being a good wife is every bit important as being a good mom. And I bet the grandparents would love to have her. Have fun!

If your daughter is close to her grandparents, this could be a fun, safe adventure for her. If a new baby is coming to the family soon, where will your daughter be when you are at the hospital for the birth? If she is going to be with her grandparents, this would be a good way for her to find that this is a safe place for her to be. And it can be the start of her making special individual memories with her grandparents, before a little brother or sister is in the picture.

I completely understand your fear. I too did not want my daughter to spend a night away from home but I think it depends on how close she is to the grandparents. My daughter is pretty close to her grandparents. We let our daughter stay with her grandparents at 2 years 2 mos old. I was also about to have a child. We wanted her to have spent the night at her grandparents so she could stay with them when the new baby was born. It turns out it was the best possible thing we could have done. It is a long story, but my baby was born 6 weeks early in a different city and needed to stay in the NICU. My daughter ended up spending 2-3 day stretches at her grandparents which gave her a type of stability that she needed during that time. I am really glad she had already spent one night there. Just a little food for thought. I never thought we would end up needing to have her stay at the grandparents house. Good luck in whatever you decide.

My 1 1/2 year old twin granddaughters having been staying overnight with me from time to time since they were a month old. They LOVE coming to N.'s!! They are secure and comfortable. I am so thankful my daughter in law has shared them with us. We are a HUGE part of their lives, and they will benefit from that relationship as well as us. My suggestion is to go ahead and leave your toddler overnight with her grandparents. Nurture that special relationship...and you and your husband take a night out! It's just right.

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Best wishes,


I think it is alot for a toddler but she is old enough to understand why shes not in her bed and that mom and dad will be back for her

My eldest (4) has been staying overnight with her grandparents since she was born so she is very used to it. My youngest (2) has never stayed the night anywhere and would probably have a hard time with it, although she surprises us all the time.

Staying the night is a big deal and with your daughter going through so many transistions right now, it might be tough. If your daughter is good at expressing yourself (my 2 year old is, a little too well sometimes!) you could ask her. Other wise if your not comfortable just say no and go on a date for a few hours. If you think it's a good idea go for it with the idea that you may be getting called in the middle of dinner! Just prepare your husband for the real possiblity that it might be too much for her at this time. As long as he is willing to go get her I think it would be a fine idea. I know my husband sometimes sets his standards a little too high and I have to bring him back down to reality! Change is hard for little ones and when it happens all they want to know is that your there no matter what.

Have fun on your date whether it's all night aor just a few quiet hours!

If she's spent a lot of time with her grandparents, then hopefully she'll be comfortable enough to stay overnight. Your husband is right; you guys do deserve a night to yourself. Your daughter is not going to die from staying one night with her grandparents. And if she does wake up in the middle of the night and the grandparents can't handle her, although I've never known a grandparent that couldn't, they can always call you, right? I think it's time you let your little girl grow up just a little. I'm sure she'll be fine. Have a good night out with your husband!

Hi M.,
Most overnight stay hang ups are with the parents and not the child. My daughter stayed all night with my mother for the first time when she was 4 weeks. She has been staying ever since. She has stayed with her Godparents starting at 4 months. I think kids need a break from the parents as much as we need a break from them. If you daughter is familiar with her grandparents than she will be ok. Its time to give yourself and your daughter a break. Let her stay with the grandparents. :) T.

You do have a lot of changes going on right now, but if she has a good relationship with the grandparents, it shouldn't be an issue.

We don't have the luxury of having our kids spend time with their grandparents because of location. However, when we've needed to have a grandparent come into town to help (hospital for 2nd child's birth, business trips), our older child has done great.

Perhaps, to start it would be easier to have the grandparent come to your house and get used to having someone other than you there before changing the environment.

But, kids are really resilient. You'll be amazed at how well they do. It really is harder on you than it is on them as long as they're in an environment that is comfortable.

I'd take advantage of the opportunity if possible - the sooner kids get exposure to other environments, the better to prevent separation anxieties.

It does seem a little too much of an adjustment for a toddler. At such age, they are really conscious with consistency. Changes in their routine often times result to tantrums. But if changes is inevitable, it helps if you condition her ahead of time like telling her about her sleep over at her grandparents before the actual arrangement happens. I do this all the time with my daughter the same age every time we change her routine. Yes their concept of things are limited but they are still capable of understanding more than we think they can.

I just want to share my experience - we moved cross country to live closer to my family so my kids could spend more time with their grandparents. We did that 6 years ago when my youngest was just 1 year old. We lived 4 hours away (for us - this was close!) and would let the kids spend weekends, spring break, a week in the summer etc with their grandparents - my one year old was still breastfeeding - she probably didn't spend the night until she was 2 or so... I am soooo thankful we took the time to do that because 3 years after that move - we moved cross country again - so not much time with the grandparents anymore. My mom then got a terminal illness and she just passed away recently - and now my kids won't ever get that time again. I am so thankful I took the oppurtunity when it came because you just can't ever know the future. These are her grandparents and I think she will be just fine - also I feel very strongly that you and your husband need couple time - especially with a new one on the way! Not everyone has the luxury of grandparents that are close, willing and able - I say enjoy every moment!

I say let her go and enjoy your night away! If she's staying with her grandparents they will keep her too busy for her to even worry about you being gone. At 2 she is plenty old enough to undertstand that she's staying the night away from home and that she will see you the next after breakfast.

Is she close to your parents? Does she go over there often? If so, I think an overnight may be just what you all need. Maybe try it before you move or maybe even a few weeks after moving. I do not think getting rid of the binky or the new baby will affect her having an overnight. Unless it really has disrupted her sleeping habits?

I'd think she understands that you aren't there but you are coming back.

Maybe start with a few hours with her grandparents and then eventually move to an overnight. My daughter started staying at my parents at 6 weeks old (once every few months) and now loves going over and staying there, although she wakes up at like 5am because she has so much fun!!

That is a lot of changes in a short amount of time. If she is handling things well and loves to be with her grandparents then you could try it. Our son has only had an overnight stay when we were giving birth to our daughter. He stayed at our friends house (2 hrs away) for 2 nights. He didn't have any problems. He had a blast but that's also because he got to play with his 2 favorite friends. You should ask her if she wants to stay with grandma and grandpa for a night and see what she says. Has she ever napped at their house? If so I think she would be ok. You are fortunate to have family near by. We do not and wished we lived closer to family (they are in Washington) so they could see them more and so we could have some alone time.

I'm not sure if anyone made this suggestion yet, but maybe you guys could have the night out (even an overnight somewhere else) while Grandma and Grandpa stay with her overnight at your house - she would be in her normal night time environment, so that may be easier for her to manage. Good luck - and enjoy your time with your husband!!

I say go for it! Yes, its a lot, but one night is not another huge life change, its time with a relative that she knows. Especially if all this is happening, you probably need it!

My husband and I are going to Ireland for 10 days and we're leaving our 16 mo. old with my in-laws! I'm sure it will be tough at first, but I'll know he'll adjust and my in-laws are so excited! Its good for everyone when Mommy and Daddy get away!

You can tell her that Grandma and Grandpa want to play with her and that you'll see her in the morning. She may or may not like it the first time, but she'll adjust and the younger you start doing it, the better she'll be off in my opinion.

You can do it!

A. V.

Hi. My daughter was 2 and a half ... (almost 3 I guess) when she stayed at her Grandmas house the first time. My mom lives right down the street (literally 4 houses away) - we were having a big party at our house for my husbands 30th birthday so she spent the night there. I took her late in the afternoon and picked her up 1st thing in the morning when I woke up. My daughter seemed to enjoy it and wasn't traumatized or anything. If your daughter is very familiar with her Grandma and you can tell she's happy around her I say let her stay one night. It would be good for you guys to have a night alone.

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