Almost 3 Year Old Travel with Grandparents?

Updated on September 08, 2008
J.C. asks from Pasadena, MD
5 answers

My parents recently asked if they could take my almost 3 year old to Tenneessee to visit my brother's family for a long weekend. My initial response was "NO!". If I can't go with her then she's not going without me.

Here are the details of the situation. I'm a working mom and my parents watch my kids (11 months and almost 3) one day a week while we have a babysitter the rest of the time. So my kids are very comfortable with my parents. My daughter is especially close to them. She also see's my brother's family at least 2-3 times a year. This trip would be for her to go to her cousin's 3rd birthday party. It's an 8 hour drive.

I'm not concerned about my parents driving or my daughter being too much for them to handle. Truthfully, I don't know why I immediately said no, but it just didn't seem like the right thing to do.

So, I'm asking for opinions. Am I a crazy over-protective mother or am I right not to let my daughter travel 500 miles without me?

Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

The trip back in September was cancelled for a variety of reasons, but my daughter went to TN with the grandparents a few weeks ago. The road trip was fine and all went well, except for the sleeping arrangements. Grandparents aren't used to sleeping with 3 year olds. :) My daughter hasn't always been the best sleeper but in a new environment she definitely wakes up more often. So Grandma ended up very tired from getting up with her a few times and just from sleeping with a very active 3 year old sleeper. I don't think Grandma and Grandpa will take her again because of the sleepless nights. I think Grandma and Grandpa thought it would be "easy" to take her and when they realized it wasn't so easy, they decided they probably won't do it again. Overall, my daughter had fun and that's the most important part. So it turned out well.

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

i think you ought to let her go. she loves and knows her gps well and it would give you time with the baby



answers from Washington DC on

Hi J.,

Thats a big trip, I understand why you would have that knee jerk response! I cant give you an opinion about this because you know your daughter well. You know how she handles the car and new environments. However I can share a bit of my own experience. I had to travel this summer to Indonesia and at the last minute I decided not to take my 3 year old son with me. Instead I left him at his grandparents house in Europe. He wasnt as close with his grandfather (theyre divorced) but he spent the bulk of the time there with only weekkends for grandma. I was very worried but he did fabulous. There were a few glitches which included stiches atthe ER, but I kept telling myself that he wont die. However its not exactly comparable because it didnt include any road trips. The result of this experience, though, is that when I came back to the U.S. with him, he was a whole lot more independent. (For example, previously he would never accept to be left at the daycare in the gym. This time there were no complains & problems).

Good luck with your decision.



answers from Washington DC on

I say let her go - it's a good time for her to bond more with grandma and grandpa (babysitting is a different kind of bonding then an actual trip together would create) and you could have a long weekend to spend with just the 11 month old (or to find some much deserved time to do something you want to do - something we all need to do). You didn't ask them - they offered. So take them up on their offer, and graciously say "thank you"! (oh and definitely ask DD if she wants to go like PP said - that would be key)



answers from Washington DC on

I think that it is worth a try, if your parents are willing to make the drive back in case your daughter can't deal with being away from home for that long without you. It could open her up to being more independent and self-sufficient. You trust your parents to take good care of your daughter every week, so it's not that you don't think they will not take care of her for this trip. I know that it's hard to let them go for their first trip, but if your daughter says she would like to go ( and I think asking her is an important step), then I think you can permit her to go.



answers from Washington DC on

Dear J.,

As a mom, I can understand how hard this is for you and why you initially said "no." This is your child and no matter how much you trust your parents - there is always some fear when your child is going somewhere without you.
I let my 3 year old go from Virginia to NC (about a 4 hour trip) years ago with my in-laws. I trusted them with my child and I really did not have much choice. My older child (6 years old) was having surgery and my military husband was in Korea. My 3 year old did fine with his grandparents (and there was even a hurricane there during the week that he was with his grandparents.) I about had a heart attack when I heard the storm ws heading that way but there was nothing I could do to stop it.

As a grandparent (now) myself of two precious little girls - I want you to know that I treasure the time that I get to spend with my two little grand-daughters. I put their safety, well-being and happiness above my own at all times (just like I did with my own children). I realize that these grand-daughters are NOT my children and I respect that and TRY not to SPOIL them too much.

Yes, it is a long distance to let your child go without you and yes, you will worry while the child is away - it is only natural. BUT - as long as you trust your parents driving habits, know that your daughter is comfortable with them and realize that she will be in LOVING hands - maybe you should rethink your answer. Think about how your answer may have hurt your parents and think of how happy you will make them and your daughter to allow this trip. Did you get to spend alone time with your grandparents when you were growing up? I did and those times are among my MOST treasured memories.

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