Leaving Little Ones with Grandparents Overnight

Have you ever spent the night apart from your little ones? I first left my oldest son home with Daddy when I had to travel for a conference. My baby was 8 months old, and that was the longest 48 hours of my life…primarily due to the logistics of lugging a breastpump and cooler all around a conference. child hand plus old woman's hand

The first time we both left him was also hard. He was staying with my parents for 3 days while my husband and I traveled for a wedding. By that point, he was 2 years old and my separation anxiety was more about just missing him terribly than concern over whether he had enough food.

We live hours away from our families, and as someone who grew up surrounded by close relatives, it’s been a hard adjustment for me. Adjustment isn’t even the right word–every day, it’s hard. I know if I lived in my hometown, I could drop the boys off with this or that aunt/cousin/grandparent and I could go to the grocery store alone or even take a yoga class. I could get a haircut!

My boys would absolutely spend the night with their grandparents if we lived closer. But we don’t. So, when we’re facing a long break from school, we send the kids to extended Camp Grandma. I wrote about this last year, how I decided to send my middle son along to Camp Grandma, even though I’d never spent the night away from him prior to this.

He was just about 2 at the time and I was largely pregnant with my third child and desperately needed some sleep before expanding our family yet again. It was fantastic. My kids taxed their grandparents; my husband and I went out to dinner and slept past 6.

This year, in acknowledgement of the fact that my older two boys are zesty, spirited little men, we are sending each boy to a different grandparent for Camp Grandma. Everyone involved thinks this is a great idea. My middle son, especially, has been having a really hard time sharing his parents’ attention with this new baby. We know that five days of intense doting will do him a world of good.

I’ll still be back home with the baby, but at this stage in my parenting, having one child around feels like such a vacation that I dared to add multiple things per day to my to-do list. Like, I’m going to go to Ikea and eat lunch all in one day!

Because we only get a few of these opportunities a year, I’m feeling especially glad that my boys will get the chance to let other adults love them. That they’ll get to feel how the rules change at different houses and how our family extends beyond the walls of our house. I know that their sleep patterns and behavior will be nuts for a good while after they return (especially because we’ll leave again soon after for our family’s Seder), so I’m going to lap up the peace and quiet while I can.

Have your kids spent the night with grandparents? Leave us a comment to share your experience!

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