Kids Who Spend Summers with Grandparents...?

Updated on December 10, 2013
J.G. asks from Rochelle, IL
27 answers

My parents have expressed an interest in having my kids come spend some time with them over the summers. Not a whole summer, but maybe a week or two. They live within driving distance, but it is a full day's drive. My oldest is 5 and my second is 3, I've only got the two.
My husband and I have talked about it, and we are OK with it, but wonder how old most kids are when they go spend weeks with grandparents with out their parents?
Do your kids go to their grandparents without you? How old are they? How long do they stay?

ETA: I probably should have added, my kids are close with my parents, and I have two nephews and a niece that are close to the age of my kids who they LOVE to play with, that are in the same town as my parents, but don't get a lot of time to see. We go and stay with my parents a couple of times a year.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all the input!
My parents would be up to task in taking care of the kids. I don't consider them old, they are in their 50's. They also have horses which they ride regularly. My daughter is quite taken with the horses. (Well to be blunt about it, she is a horse NUT!) She loves the basics of just going out to the barn to throw out hay and mucking stalls.... I HATED that stuff when I was a kid. hahaha!
We do visit my parents about 2 or 3 times a year, and stay about 5 nights at a time. My husband and I have left the kids overnight for 2 or 3 nights during our visits there before, they did well. Granted we were only an hour away.
Honestly I feel like my daughter (5 year old) would be ready for it, but I don't know about my son. It's a lot to think about. I know they would be well cared for and they would have other kids to play with (like I said my nephews and my niece live very close to my parents and they see them a lot). I guess I will talk about it deeper with my Mom next time she brings it up.

Featured Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

I used to spend weeks with each set of my grandparents when I was those ages.
They'll have a blast & remember it maaaaaaany years later!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I did when I was five. I had a nice, loving grandma who probably took better care of me than my mother did.

Enjoy the break!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My grandchildren have stayed with me for a week or so at a time. This started when the first was around 6 months old so it's something we've always done. They look forward to it and so do I. We really don't do all that much. I live by a park so we walk over to go swimming and play on the playset a lot. It's not really about doing grand things; more about spending time together.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

When my husband was young he spent weeks at his grandparents home. Some times they lived out of state, sometimes in state but hours away. His grandmother would drive down and pick him up.. He would stay with her for 1 or 2 weeks at a time. He said he loved those trips. He was given a lot more freedom with his grandparents and he loved those trips.

When I was a child my sister and I went by bus with my grandmother from Austin to Phoenix. My grandmother did not speak English.. I translated, I remember being 9 and my sister 4, We stayed with my cousins And my Great Aunt. We stayed for 2 weeks. I cannot remember if we went 2 years in a row or 3 years. But I have very fond memories..

I was very close to my grand parents so I was used to spending time with her. I think as longs a children are loved by their grandparents and there are things for the children to do, it is like an adventure for most kids I think it is harder on the parents than the kids.

The secret is to be positive and calm about these events. Your children will be just fine,

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Would they like to have my kids to??

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I'm with AKMom. What's the big deal? Again, I think this is a cultural question. In black households extended family are trusted. I would relish the vacation!

I'm 55 and am in better physical shape than many women who are in their 30s...

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Oh, yes, my son has stayed with my parents for up to 3 weeks at at time when he was younger, especially when I was having to travel for work. They are about 7 hours away. This summer (he was 6), he was there about 7 weeks, 4 of those being a trip to India with my dad, so that my son could visit his dad and family over there.

When I was younger, I would always stay at least a week each summer with my grandparents. I can't remember how old I was when I started.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

My daughter is 7 and I have never let her spend the night ANYWHERE without at least one of us (hubby or me have always been with her if one of us has been out of town). My MIL always wants her to spend the night but even recently when she watched her for a few hours in the evening, my daughter was fighting falling asleep until MIL assured her that she could go to sleep and we would be there to get her. She finally went to sleep (like being reassured we'd come allowed her to relax).

My son is now 22 and he also never spent more than a night or two away from us (when he was younger that is).

I am not a fan of sleep overs although I do allow...just not when they are too young. There's no need. I am also not a fan of pawning the kids off on others, they are my kids and I spend more than enough time away from them (work, school, other events) that I want them with me. **Not saying you were pawning them off, just some people do**.

I would not allow a week or two especially at this age.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

They will have memories for a lifetime.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Some of my best childhood memories are from staying what seemed like the whole summer at my grandparents (although it was probably just a week or two). Your situation sounds familiar to mine. My dad & stepmom live in San Antonio so it a four to five hour drive there. My girls are 4 and 8 and love spending time with their grandparents on the farm riding horses and getting dirty. And my hubby and I enjoy the week long break! So I say go for it! It will be great memories for your kiddos.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

If we had lived close enough I would have allowed it from the moment I stopped breast feeding, but sadly we lived too far away. I trust my mother completely, she raised me after all and I turned out okay :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

wow, all I can say you guys are very lucky.....Our kids are 9,7 3 and 1 and my inlaws have never EVER asked to keep them, not even when we just had 2 boys......

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My in-laws do this for me, and it's been going on for as long as I can remember. I don't remember exactly how old my girls were when they first spent the week at Grandma's, but I'm pretty sure they were 3 and 5! My MIL was so cute too. She took pictures of all their activities over the week and made a little scrapbook. Nothing crazy, I'm talking a scrapbook made out of construction paper (cover and back) and computer paper (pages inside). My girls LOVE these books and have saved each one. They are 10 and 12 now. They have definitely made some great memories at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I say, GO FOR IT!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Even if kids are close to their grandparents, that does not automatically translate into being OK spending five or seven nights or so without you or your husband around. And wanting mom or dad there does not mean your kids are rejecting the grandparents -- it just means they are young kids who are not yet used to sleeping away from their own beds and who are not used to the idea that mom and dad aren't a few feet away.

I'd take them down and try leaving them for a couple of nights only, not a whole week. Maybe drive down, spend the one night there since it's a full-day drive, the kids stay two more nights, you arrive the next day and hang out and spend one night, then you all go home.

You don't want to be in the position of having to get that dreaded call where you're told that the kids are homesick (and yes, kids can get homesick even when with trusted, loved adults) and want to be fetched home. I'd build up to this and not do a week all at once.

Also a lot depends on your parents; do you feel they are fully up for having both kids for several nights on their own? Yes, they raised you! But that was a while back, no? Have they been in charge of the full bedtime routine for both kids without you there, previously, maybe when you and your husband went out while they put the kids to bed? Will they be OK with the kids possibly getting up in the night a bit worried, or disoriented when they realize mom and dad aren't around? Just think through the possible scenarios and see how you feel. It likely will be just fine. But bear in mind that two kids these ages have a ton of energy and will have conflicts at times, and think about whether your parents will be up for that 24/7.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Guess it depends on how close they are to grandparents. If very close, send them and enjoy your time. If they are more of an acquaintance, they are not old enough.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Sounds wonderful, as long as they can be away from you and grandparents moderately will follow your routines.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

When my boys were three and six they stayed with grandma for a week while my husband and I went on vacation. When I was a toddler/preschooler I stayed with my grandparents when my parents went on vacations, usually two or three times a year for a week or two at a time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

So much depends upon your kids and their temperament and ability to be comfortable without you right there, at night, etc,... and on your parents.

My son did it, alone (no sibling) at 2 for a week. Out of necessity (I was so very sick with "morning" sickness with his younger sister). I hated it, but he did ok (or at least they never let on otherwise).

As they got older, we let them go to my parents' for 5 days or so, one at a time (not both at the same time). It wasn't wonderful. It was ok. But it was hard on my parents who were unaccustomed to a young boy so full of energy, and he was unaccustomed to my dad's rules and lack of patience (he had a lot more when I was a kid, but as our parents age, they don't all accumulate more patience, sometimes it goes the other way). He's now 72, and has become rather crotchety. I think it is frustration with aging. :/

My daughter was much better with them alone, but she is a pleaser and rule follower, so she spent a lot of time with my mom in the kitchen.

But it only happened that one time each. I think my parents realized they were not up to it at their ages anymore (they were early to mid-60s).

It also is about expectations. My kids had the idea (b/c my parents said "oh it will be fun!") that it would be one big playtime adventure. But it wasn't. It was more like daily doldrums with one or two things extra thrown in. So expectations have a role in how things go as well. I think my son got bored. He was about 7 or 8.

If it were me? I would wait until they were a little older and had a more full understanding of time (like days on a calendar and how long that actually is!) and what was going on.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Stationed Overseas on

I think you have to look at it from everyones advantage and see if everyone participating can handle it. Can your kids handle being away from you and your hubby for that long? Have they ever spent the night away from home without you? Can your parents handle it? Would they be able to deal with the energy, the crying/tantrums that might come up? Will they be safe with your parents? Can they install and use car seats properly? What happens if there is an emergency? Will your parents have the authority to make medical decisions if necessary? What about you and your hubby? Would you be able to handle it emotionally?
For my kids this would be a big no. This is not something we do in my family, not in the past or in the future. I see no reason for it unless it is an dire emergency situation. My kids are just about the same age as yours and my 5yo would freak out. She would have a complete meltdown probably even before we left the house. And she is close to my in-laws. This is just her personality and that's ok. I would never want to do something like this if it would harm her emotionally. It doesn't matter what I want her well being comes first. She also has very little concept of time and anything over a few days is a lifetime to her. My younger child would probably be like whatever, see you later. My MIL could probably handle the kids but my FIL would be exhausted by day 2. There is no way my own mother could handle my kids mentally, physically or emotionally. And there is zero chance I would ever leave them with her as she thinks it's ok to heat the house with the oven.
I do understand that a lot of people do this but just not us. GL it's a big decision IMO and do whatever is best for you and your kids.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My nieces and nephew started staying with my MIL by themselves when they were 7 and 9. My older niece is nearly 10 and isn't ready.

I think it depends on the kids.

My 4 and 5 year old stay with my mom one night a month. I could easily see 3-4 days, but a week? Not yet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I spent all my school breaks and summer vacations with my grandparents. Its some of my best childhood memories. My mom works but my kids have spent 2 weeks at a time with her when she took them to CA for vacations. They had a blast and it was a good break for me. lol Let them go, they will have a great time!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I'd say try it. I do wonder if the 3 year old will do okay. If it's their first time being away all night it might be too hard.

If it's a whole days drive then you'll have to stay over before coming back home. So this is what I would do.

Drive down, stay that night at their house and spend some time the next day. Then act like you're going home. Stay that night in a hotel. See if that phone call comes. If it doesn't then at least you and hubby get to have a fun night at a hotel alone. Or stay the night at another relatives or friends home. Just someone that you enjoy being with so you'll be available just in case.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Tell your mom that you are open to the idea but you don't think your son is up for a full week away. Would they take your DD by herself this time? They do not need to be a package deal all the time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My kids (11, 8, 4) spend up to two nights at a time at my parents house. That is the longest they have stayed. I think a week would be too long.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I spent several days at a time with my grandparents from a very young age. From the time I was a toddler and in early preschool I would go to Grandma's for a few days at a time, and the time increased as I grew.

My own mom isn't very "Grandma-y," but if she were, I'm sure that the boys would have done the same. Sadly, mom doesn't really embrace the role of Grandma like mine did.

I think a test run of a couple of nights would be good to start with. See how they do. Don't get too over the top with "miss you's" or phone calls or it will upset the kids more than necessary. A phone call before bed for good night and to hear about their day is good and won't get them too upset.

I think they'll have a great time. They'll be with people who love them nearly as much as you do, and who know how to handle children's antics. :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Oh my gosh you are looking a gift horse in the mouth!!! oh yes pun intended
Your parents raised you and you are fine. So why wouldn't all be well with your children?
And I too am in my fifties and I really feel pretty darn good. I would love to have two weeks with grandchildren. I just don't have any.
Enjoy some time with your honeybun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I think it would be awesome!! We have 3 boys (8, 5, and 3). Our 5 year old needed open heart surgery this summer in Boston and we needed someone to care for our 8 & 3 year old. They went to FL to stay with my in-laws for 3 weeks. I probably never would have let them, but we literally had no choice! They (grandparents and kids) LOVED it! They did so many fun things!! My boys all want to go back this summer--and the grandparents want them longer....

1 mom found this helpful
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