im not too sure where to post this but i have a question for any of you who live away from extended family. the closest we live to any relatives (aside from my sister) is about 3 or 4 hours away. some live 8 hours away... or across the country. lately for the past month or so, we have had family/old friends come to town and stay with us almost every weekend it seems. after my other sister left this past weekend, i noticed a HUGE change in behavior from my 3 year old. literally, the moment she left, my daughter became grumpy, difficult, throwing tantrums, tearful, etc etc. she isnt using her words to tell me what's going on deep down but i sense it's from all the people she starts to attach herself to and end up leaving.
has anyone dealt with this before? how do you all handle this? have any of you all moved back closer to family for reasons like this? im afraid she feels like she cant attach to anyone (besides mom and dad and her little friends we see weekly). i feel so drained from her moodiness but also so sad at what she must be feeling. im starting to feel really bad about living so far away from everyone....
All of my family lives between 5 - 18 hours away so I have certainly been there too. DS1 (almost 3 1/2) is very quick to warm up to family, even though he doesn't see them regularly, so he was very sad and would act out when they left. I always set up the visit with Uncle K is going to be here for X days and then he will be going home. Tomorrow is Grandma's last day here. Grandpa has to fly home today... and so on. He really needs help with transitions. I always hate saying over and over that someone will be leaving (it feels like I am pushing them out the door ) but it really helps DS1 cope / understand.
Both sets of DD's grandparents live 300 miles away, my sister lives 300 miles away, and my SIL and BIL live about 200 miles away. (We're in the atlantic corridor so it can be 6 to 10-12 hours depending on traffic and time of day one leaves) It is really hard and I always feel so bad for DD because she gets really sad when people leave too. I totally understand what you are going through.
Here's what has helped us:
1) We make sure we talk about the visit ahead of time as PP mentioned. Grandma and Grandpa will visit for 3 days.
2) During the visit, we remind DD that it is going to end. Grandma and Grandpa have to leave tomorrow. We will miss them but we will see them soon.
3) When we say goodbye, we always say, See you soon! Usually we kind of know when we will see the visitors again so we always mention that to DD as well.
4) VERY frequent phone calls with everyone. It is common for DD to pick up our phone, hand it to me, and announce, "Call Grandpa!" and we do. Our family often spends time on the phone with DD talking about the fun they had on the last visit, or the plans for the next one. We probably call a family member 5 or 6 days a week.
It isn't perfect, and I sometimes wish that we could live closer. DD sometimes gets cranky/sad/angry when everyone leaves as well. Sometimes a little extra attention and snuggles from me helps, too. She's been the subject of our guests' loving undivided attention and exciting activities for however many days, and it must be hard to go back to just being with boring old Mama, yk?
We moved away (1000 miles) this past summer (we have three kids - 6, 4 and 2). We used to live within a 15 minute drive of my parents and my 4 siblings and all their kids (11 nieces and nephews) and 2 hours from my inlaws. Now we are a plane ride away from everyone.
Of course this is still fairly new to us, so I can't speak for the long term. But, we were (and still are) very close to my family. My kids best friends were their cousins. And I am very, very close to my sisters and mom. My kids were very close to a particular aunt and uncle who lived down the street from us. They spent a lot of time at our house. So, I anticipated the adjustment would be really hard. But, really, the kids have done great. I am the one with the homesickness.
The kids have been very resilient. They made new friends very quickly, have gotten absorbed in their daily lives and just do what they do. We've had several visits - grandparents and the favorite aunt/uncle and they did fine after they all left. I wouldn't read too much into your daughters behavior. I imagine most of the unusual behavior might be a result of just the upheaval of having guests - being tired, change of routine, etc.
I think it depends on the kid. Some kids will act like this no matter how long a person stays, other kids won't act like it at all.
we live 6hour from both sets of grandparents, 3 hours from my sister & her family, 5 hours from my brother & his family, 6 hours from my other brother. We see them all more often than we see dh's sister & brother & their families who live 15minutes away.
My kids have never acted like that, even when I haven't told them & let it be a surprise.
I grew up with a girl who would act like this, even when she was 5/6. Every time they came for a playdate she's be bawling & crying when they had to leave. If we went to their house it was the same thing.
In the OP's case with it being more than 1 weekend it may be more that your dd is having a harder time transitioning with the change in routine & wanting normalcy.
thanks everyone for the replies. ive been focusing today on just "she and i" time and it's helping immensely. she seems pretty much back to herself. im thinking it was a combination of change in routine, family coming and go, etc etc. fyi- we have always had family come and go... i think it was just a breaking point for her this last time since it had been EVERY weekend for a month. time to get our rhythm going strong again!