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Grandparenting

Distraught grand daughter

(20 Posts)
Poppysnanny Mon 13-Nov-17 08:36:39

We live about 120 miles from our daughter and grand daughter. Every time we visit or she stays with us, our DGD (3.5 years old) is OK on the initial parting as we explain to her that we're going back to our house to go to work etc etc., but at bedtime she becomes distraught and cries for us inconsolably. My daughter and SIL do all they can to re-assure her. Skyping or video calling has helped a little, but it's so upsetting to see and her calling for us, asking for a cuddle and sobbing.
How do others handle partings and explaining to a toddler, who doesn't understand why we can't just come back?

Teetime Mon 13-Nov-17 09:36:55

This sounds like separation anxiety which does get better as they get older. Distressing for you though. flowers

MissAdventure Mon 13-Nov-17 09:42:39

My daughter used to be the same when my mum left after a visit, and my mum only lived 4 miles away! She would hide my mums handbag - anything to try and delay her going. It was very upsetting for the three of us.

NemosMum Mon 13-Nov-17 10:02:04

She's only 3. She will come to understand that you will return. Don't prolong the agony, just say you are going, Have kiss and quick cuddle AND GO! Do not prolong, explain, bribe, make promises etc. - you will only make it worse for her and yourself. If you are still worried about this, read Toddler Taming by Dr. Christopher Green - full of common sense.

luluaugust Mon 13-Nov-17 10:04:43

One of my DGs was much the same, it will ease with time but I guess some people always find it hard to say goodbye, a lesson that has to be slowly learnt I'm afraid.

cornergran Mon 13-Nov-17 10:09:57

One of ours simply refused to say goodbye, she’s much older now but still avoids it if she’s feeling vulnerable. I agree with nemosmum, be as calm and straightforward as you can. If you know when you will see her again some sort of chart to mark off the days might help. She will gradually understand that you do come back. It will get better as she gets older, try not to worry.

Hm999 Mon 13-Nov-17 10:12:00

A 4yr old can understand a calendar. When dad went away for work for ten days we did a 240hr calendar (honest). Mornings were great when we could cross off 10 or 12.

BlueBelle Mon 13-Nov-17 10:16:18

She will get used to it, don’t play into it and please don’t forget she will be picking up on your reluctance and anxiety to leave her too
Why not give her something of yours to keep until you come back maybe a hanky or one glove something that she knows you will come back for
I also remember reading of a mum who drew a little heart on her sons inside hand and told him to press the button if he was sad as she would be thinking of him and sending him her love better than Skyp which I have found just increased the distance When my little granddaughter stayed with me she was happy as Larry all day until her mum Skyped in the evening then she went to pieces and sobbed through bedtime

Gymstagran Mon 13-Nov-17 10:21:33

My eldest granddaughter at 7 still hates it when I leave but I just wave and say see you again soon. I do so agree about Skype. Until they are really old enough to uderstand in my experience it just makes them sadder.

silverlining48 Mon 13-Nov-17 10:36:39

I am not a great fan of skype either, when children are young they just run around, shout and make rude noises, (!?) and its altogether not a great experience for any of us. Its clearly better than nothing of course but not the panacea some think it is.

Coconut Mon 13-Nov-17 10:40:15

One of my little granddaughters used to visibly shake and sob when I left, it was very distressing even tho I saw her weekly, as I only lived 40 mins away. It does subside when they realise that you will always come back soon. Just maintain the calls, Skype etc and maybe even post little cards so she has lots of varied contact to look forward to. Now she is older, I get nightly texts or emails with lots of ❤️❤️💞💝💖 ... it’s so lovely.

radicalnan Mon 13-Nov-17 10:53:59

Sing a funny song, do a funny dance...leave her laughing.

I sing to mine and they are glad to be leaving. It is just the way kids are, of the moment and nothing more.

nipsmum Mon 13-Nov-17 11:00:12

Good advice Radicalnan. Leave them laughing and it does help.

GoldenAge Mon 13-Nov-17 11:40:25

Separation anxiety - yes, leave her laughing and if possible facetime on your journey home. Also, find out whether she's read any stories about older people dying, as it might be more than separation anxiety, she may be afraid that once you've gone, you've gone for good - you have to deal with that differently. Increase your contact over the phone, send her little cards through the post, and try to increase the number of visits you/they make.

Irenelily Mon 13-Nov-17 11:45:28

One of my grandsons when 2 - 3 used to be inconsolable when I left. I only lived a mile away and saw him quite frequently. We had two ploys, my daughter would put Postman Pat or Fireman Sam on TV just before I left! I would still say bye bye see you soon but it helped. I also left him a small cuddly toy from my collection and swapped it each visit. He did indeed grow out of it!

jocarter Mon 13-Nov-17 11:52:52

We only see our grandson 3 or 4 times a year due to distance and health. What we do every time is as soon as we get home, I sit in my chair and Skype with him telling him we are home now and we will be back in the car with him when we can. He is 3, we Skype every day. For the first 2 or 3 days after our return, he genuinely won’t talk to me at all as if he’s punishing me, but I just talk to my son and DIL and he sits there sneaking the odd look at me. After about 3 days I show him something that I have brought him and tell him I’m sending it in the post to him. It works every time. We then carry on skyping every day until we can visit next. He often just carries on playing but regularly looks to see if I’m still watching. This definitely works for us, we even Skype when I am in Hospital

grandtanteJE65 Mon 13-Nov-17 12:06:16

She will grow out of this very distressing behaviour for you all.

Is she just as upset if she and her parents come to you for a visit? If she finds that easier it might be the way forward, but from what you wrote it looked as if she is upset either way.

I don't know whether more or fewer visits are best for the next while, perhaps some of the other Grans have an idea about spacing visits?

Morgana Mon 13-Nov-17 13:20:13

I know how she feels. I hate saying goodbye!

Shazmo24 Mon 13-Nov-17 16:04:18

We never say "goodbye" We only say "See you later" ...seems to do the trick

Poppysnanny Mon 13-Nov-17 16:56:13

Thank you so much to all of you for your sympathetic and constructive replies.
There are lots of ideas for us to try and I like the idea of the calendar and leaving one of our toys with her. I will also send her some postcards - I had forgotten that my mum used to do this for my children when we lived apart.
She is OK with us actually going, we do keep it brief and she doesn't get upset then, it's when it's bedtime that she gets upset.
I think it's separation anxiety and I will do a bit of research around this, for ways to reassure her.
Many thanks again - what a great space this is for support x