Your kids are very lucky if they have grand parents. You are very lucky if any of them live close by.
I have encouraged a rich relationship between their grandparents and my kids since day dot. My parents-in-law have always lived close by. My father died when Jack was 2 and my mother has now moved close by.
My mother-in-law was keen to have Jack over for the night from 2 weeks old. Although it is an anxious move to make, it is worth remembering that they have done it all before and your little one is only a phone-call or short drive away. Trust me, the earlier the better. If it doesn’t work out the first time, don’t push it, wait until the grand parents are ready to try again.
Jack, at 2 years old would happily stay with any member of my family and a number of close friends too. Each night is an enriching experience for those who have him and for Jack, an opportunity to learn that boundaries vary from household to household and adult to adult.
However, when considering nights out, there is one very important thing to remember, and I don’t believe stay-aways will work without this simple rule. Grand parents, are there to spoil your kids and enjoy the time they have with them. Going to Granny and Grandad is a treat and something to get excited about. Of course, grand parents have their own boundaries that children will have to learn in good time and those form a vital part of a healthy and loving relationship. They are the grand parents’ boundaries though, and not yours. If they fall out of their routine or eat sweeties or have nothing but yoghurt for breakfast, lunch and supper does it really matter? It’s one night in a week/month.
My point is, if the grandparents are having your kids for the night or the day, it’s not for them to worry and fret about your methods of discipline, your eating requirements and your sleeping methods. So what if they land up in the bed with Granny and Grandad? Let them just BE with your children without your constant instruction, correction and comment. I believe it’s worth taking a step back to give that special bond a chance to take shape and it frees the grandparents from any constraints or rules that you may put on them allowing them to truly enjoy their grandchildren. Having the grandchildren around will become more and more of a pleasure for them and your children learn things from their grandparents that no other adult can give them.