Gransnet forums


Frequency of visiting grandchildren

(107 Posts)
Suzigran Sat 02-Mar-19 15:12:45

I'm wondering if anyone is in a similar situation & if so, how do they feel about it ?
I have 3 GS ( my sons children ) 4 years, 20 months and 4 months old.
The eldest went into a day nursery when he was one year old as both parents worked full time. When the second one reached 11 months, DIL went back to work & they had a live in nanny. This meant I could no longer stay with them but could stay nearby with my other son for visits. When my first GS was born, I discussed the frequency of visits with my DIL. I live 2 hours away but it is no problem to go up for the day or night which I used to do. I think I mentioned the possibility of weekly visits but she suggested that fortnightly would fit in best. This has continued to now. I have always felt that the gaps between visits have meant that each time I have gone to pick up my elder grandson from his nursery/pre school, he is shy and it takes time for him to relax and for me to re establish the connection. He is now just 4 and I know he wants me to stay longer when I visit.
I feel I lose something, in the way of bonding, in between these visits.
I have a good but not in depth relationship with DIL. Conversations don't flow that easily however she is very appreciative of anything I do or when they come & stay with me. DIL comes from a big family with 3 sisters, cousins and nephews and nieces ( other gran has 8 GC's including my 3 )Nanny told me that she doesn't see my 3 as much as I do. Both DIL, my son & other G. have a busy social life. I do too, but I want to put my GC first. Eldest GS has so many activities, parties & playdates & of course maternal aunts, uncles & cousins, I can see there is limited time for me ! I just feel I could have given so much reassurance to eldest GC when he got so upset with parents leaving him for work etc.etc. I am widowed so don't have someone to discuss these things with.
I have some back issues so I can't lift much so in a way lucky I'm not relied upon to look after the GC. for long periods !
I don't feel I can do much about this but will this ( the gaps between visits )affect my future relationship - not being so emotionally close. I know I am fortunate to see them when I do i.e. they are in the same country.
It must be easier with a daughter's children ?!! I have 2 sons ( other one has no children )

tanith Sat 02-Mar-19 15:36:08

I only see two of my smaller GC once or twice a year, they are my sons children an live abroad I visit them and every couple of years they come to London. In between times my dil sents pics and videos and we occasionally FaceTime. We have a good relationship.
Could you not have a FaceTime with them on the week you don’t visit?

Luckygirl Sat 02-Mar-19 15:39:51

I think that the hope of "bonding" with GC is perhaps nor necessary. It is great if they know you and who you are, but the bonding is for the parents.

Newmom101 Sat 02-Mar-19 15:56:42

I have an 18 month old and we see my parents every 2 weeks and DPs parents every 3/4 weeks (he arranges it like that, not me). With working, toddler groups, visiting both sets of grandparents, siblings on both sides and friends, and trying to get some time out just us and DD, we are constantly busy. We just don't have more time. I suspect your son and DIL are the same. I think being some distance away makes it harder as well. My parents are over an hours drive away, we can't just pop in after work or school during the week.

I think you're overthinking it though. Some kids are just shy. DDs shy when she first sees anyone, be it her grandparents or the nursery staff she spends 3 days a week with. Its something he will probably grow out of, he won't be 10 and still shy when he first sees you.

But why did you feel the need to ask your DIL how often you should visit when your GS was first born? That would really put me off having someone visit, if they excepected a set visiting schedule. It's better to just go with it, see when you're all free, rather than expecting set visits.

Also, you say it must be easier with a daughters children but have just said your DILs mother sees the children less than you do, so that's obviously not always the case!

Farmor15 Sat 02-Mar-19 16:00:32

Suzigran - I think fortnightly visiting is too often, now that family have 3 children. I would visit less often - maybe at least a month or 6 weeks between visits, but stay a bit longer (if that's OK with other son you stay with).

Like many here, my grandchildren (2 and 3 now) live in another country. We see them around 4 times a year, but for a week at a time. Oldest one used to be very shy with us, but is fine now - younger one is more outgoing anyway. One set of grandparents of our own children lived abroad -very far - so children only saw them at most every couple of years, but still built a good relationship as they got older.

It sounds like you have a fairly fixed fortnightly arrangement for visits - perhaps you could start by making it more flexible. Current arrangement may not really suit parents who you say are both working and have busy lives and they may be too polite to say so, even though you obviously do a lot to help.

Farmor15 Sat 02-Mar-19 16:02:20

I see Newmom has said much the same as me - we must have posted at same time but hers got there first!

BlueBelle Sat 02-Mar-19 16:04:21

Is this a new phenomenon ... my parents never made appointed times and dates they saw my children when we were around and didn’t when we weren’t and exactly the same happens with my children and grandchildren There are no formal ‘you may see them twice a month’ etc etc That seems very alien to my idea of families
My way would be ‘are you around on Tuesday if I pop over to see you and the kids’ if the answers ‘no’ fine, they’re busy if the answers ‘yes’, great go but don’t outstay your welcome
All very strange now

sodapop Sat 02-Mar-19 16:20:05

Yes I would agree you are over thinking this. Maybe you could be more flexible with your visits and contact them in different ways. You will always be their Grandma you don't need to work so hard at it.

Suzigran Sat 02-Mar-19 16:24:59

Thanks for these suggestions. I will certainly think about more flexibility and maybe it is off putting to have this fixed timing ( although, it doesn't always work out with their holidays, fixtures etc. & mine ) - good to hear from the other perspective too - Newmom101 - yes, I can overthink sometimes... Good to hear you have a good relationship with you GC living abroad tanith. We tried Facetime when eldest GS was younger but I wasn't used to it or keen on it then & nor was he, so it petered out ! Maybe time to reconsider.

Suzigran Sat 02-Mar-19 16:30:49

Yes, good point, sodapop, we are lucky people ! smile

Suzigran Sat 02-Mar-19 16:39:10

BlueBelle - Have to make arrangements in advance, being a distance away & all having busy lives or we'd never meet. Also, yes, it would be more relaxed/easy with your own daughter, I imagine, to arrange visits..?!

muffinthemoo Sat 02-Mar-19 16:46:41

If you are getting EOW (Every Other Weekend) visits, that's actually a pretty common frequency of contact for a non-custodial parent.

I would say that's pretty good for a grandparent.

I would only observe that if two parents in a family are working full time/close to full time, the weekends are the only time the whole family has to be together in the daytime, and I too would be reluctant to surrender that parents-and-child-only time every weekend to grandparents, aunties etc.

My in laws have an EOW schedule by agreement with DH, and since DH works six days a week, this means every other weekend we have no 'family day' at all. I know they want every Sunday as 'their day' but I don't feel that's fair and I haven't agreed to it. It would mean my children are only seeing their father a few hours per week, and I strongly feel their relationship and bond with their father needs to be prioritised over their relationship with grandparents.

Perhaps I am wrong about this, however. Every family is different.

Suzigran Sat 02-Mar-19 16:54:03

No, I always visit on a weekday as I'm conscious that they need family time at weekends as you rightly say.
This means though that I don't see my son then as he never gets back from work before 7pm.sad

Newmom101 Sat 02-Mar-19 19:07:50

Why not become more flexible with visiting and ask your son if you can see them on a weekend day then? Not every weekend, or every visit, but once a month/every other month. That way you would see him as well.

And your DIL might appreciate him taking all the kids off her hands for a few hours if he takes them to you.

littleflo Sat 02-Mar-19 20:32:32

I think a lot of us see less of the GCs than previous generations. Mainly due to both parents working, people having children later in life and the many activities that are available to the children.

I was quite involved with the eldest of mine as I helped out a lot with childcare. The little ones, not nearly as much. I would like to be close to them but we are more seen as visitors. Of course the oldest ones are now working and I rarely see them.

It is a fact of life I’m afraid but I do sympathise with how you feel.

lemongrove Sat 02-Mar-19 20:33:56

All ours live locally, but we only see the younger DGC about once a fortnight.We have no problem with bonding, they rush up to us for a hug.So don’t worry unduly about this, as once a fortnight is enough.

BradfordLass72 Sat 02-Mar-19 21:18:31

I wonder if you might be able to see a little more of your gc in their school holidays? Yes, I know they are not at school yet but when the eldest goes (and time will fly) it may be that the Nanny can bring them across for a whole day's outing to you and you could do fun things like picnic, crafts or swim etc.

My very first summer holiday with my youngest (the others are post-teen) we made a wonderful castle from a fridge/freezer box and he kept it for over a year and played and ate in it all that time) grin

I don't see my youngest grandchild very often, occasional weekends during term time, because he has so many extra-curricular activities most weekends.

During school holidays though, he's eager to come and stay and we have wonderful times doing crafts and games and cooking.

So hang on, continue with the bond you already have, and then build on it when you have more opportunities. flowers

muffinthemoo Sat 02-Mar-19 22:26:24

Yeah, in that case, it does sound like you could approach your son about weekend visits since like you say, you won't see him otherwise.

Suzigran Sat 02-Mar-19 23:10:28

Thanks for these ideas/tips etc. will hang in there and expect my son can bring them down on his own when they're old enough - to give DIL a break. I see him when they come & stay with me - alt Christmas's, & occasional weekends/bank hols. Nanny to bring them, now there's an idea ![hmm} They have an au pair at the moment while DIL is at home with new babe, then there will be a new nanny when she returns to work.

Suzigran Sat 02-Mar-19 23:18:03

BradfordLass72, thank you, glad to know your GS enjoys crafts, games, cooking etc. while staying with you, sounds very energetic though ...I'll be that much older then hmm

Suzigran Sat 02-Mar-19 23:23:36

Thanks lemongrove, that is reassuring. smile

agnurse Sun 03-Mar-19 01:00:40

We saw Mum's parents every month or so and Dad's parents a few times a year when I was growing up (we live in Canada so there was considerable distance involved). Now, we see my parents every few months and Hubby's parents every couple of years (they are in the UK; we are in Canada). Our daughter knows all of her grandparents and so did we.

Every 2 weeks is really a lot from my perspective. As the children get older, and start doing activities, you may find that even this becomes less realistic.

I agree that it's quite possible your GS is just shy. Children that age can often be quite shy.

BradfordLass72 Sun 03-Mar-19 01:16:38

Oh no, Suzigran, I assure you it's far from energetic due to disability and visual handicap. But I can show him how to make 3-ingredient shortbread (his favourite) or make savoury pin wheels from a roll of flaky pastry spread with tomato paste, grated cheese and finely chopped onion (or the sweet version : melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon).
Our crafty are low key too.

Here's one you can share with your gs at any age. Cut the bottom off a plastic bottle. Tie a hanky or other cloth securely over the hole. Damp it, put a thin layer of washing up liquid on a plate and dip the cloth end into it. Get the child to blow through the bottle top. Foam Snake!!! Lovely in the sunshine.

Jallenrix Sun 03-Mar-19 04:46:40

Suzigran, you mentioned that your grandson seems shy as you are collecting him from nursery. Is it possible that he’s “winding down” from his day? I seem to recall doing that after school.

Just a suggestion: you mentioned a few times it might easier if this were your daughter. Have you tried coordinating visits with your son? I don’t have kids, but as The Lady of the House, I will admit to feeling frustrated with the expectation to coordinate all visits and holidays, remember birthdays and anniversaries, etc. for both sides of the family. (And we both have very small families!) I might also have a heart-to-heart with both parents to see if the frequency of visits still works for them.

NotSpaghetti Sun 03-Mar-19 06:03:18

My parents lived about 2 hrs away when my children were growing up and my husband's parents about 5 hours away. I would not have wanted fortnightly visits even if they had only been an hour away. This is a personal thing, not a "daughter" or "son" thing.
I loved my parents dearly, but I had my own family and I didn't want to "give up" so much family time to visits. Maybe this was selfish, and certainly my parents would have loved it. This doesn't mean that they didn't matter to us, they really did.
My children remember them fondly and sometimes chat about them and the things they did or said. You will soon see that your grandchildren love you too. Just because they are shy at first doesn't mean they are forgetting you, and as someone else said, as they get older you will inevitably have different relationships with them.
Enjoy the time you have together now. I expect it will be much harder when they are teenagers with even busier schedules!