Fear of separation.
Hello, I have two children (3 and 2 years old), who I have never left for more than five hours with anyone other than my husband.
We have just moved back to the UK after living abroad and our parents would all like the children to start coming to stay with them, so they can get to know their grandchildren.
How should we handle this, so the children don't feel like they are being abandoned?
1- Should we take them to their grandparents' house and leave immediately, so we are leaving them?
2- Should the grandparents come and pick them up, so they are leaving us?
Should they go together the first time?
Are there any good books on the subject?
Thank you very much!
It seems that the most important thing is to tackle your own anxieties about the problem.
The fact that you have never left your children with anyone, else shows a lack of confidence, which is easily passed on to your children, which will make them anxious as well.
Try looking at it from a different angle, you are not leaving them with a 'stranger', you are giving them the opportunity to meet someone new and to get to know other people and being socialisation. This should be started as early as possible, grandparents are a great start.
Think more about the relationship they will have with your parents than the fact you will be separated, don't talk in terms of 'they are leaving us' or 'we are leaving them', say 'they are going to meet their grandparents'!
It is best if the grandparents come to pick the children up, as then it is the children who are active, but it will not go smoothly if you tell them they are 'leaving' you, even for a short while. Don't let your worries show, try to stay calm and smiley, even if you don't feel like it. The children will be as happy about it as you are, don't dramatise the situation, for they will pick up on it very quickly.
As soon as you have a baby, you are preparing it for an independent life and eventual separation from its parents when it becomes and adult. Treat each separation as a an opportunity to prepare them for the future and meet new people.