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My daughter-in-law wants to send my 5 year old (5 at the end of March) granddaughter to Russia for 2 months in the summer to visit her parents. The daughter-in-law's parents do not speak any English and my granddaughter only speaks a few words of Russian. I'm concerned that it will be hard for her not to be able to communicate and be away from everything familiar for such a long period of time. They do see each other on Skype regularly.

Her mother will travel with my granddaughter and then leave her there. Mother will stay for 1 week.

I am also concerned about the time away from family. I am a main caregiver 3-4 days/nights a week.

The Skype is between mother/daughter with her grandparents in Russia.

The grandparents do not speak ANY English.

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    Will your daughter in law or your son stay there as well? – Arsak Jan 24 '18 at 17:14
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    Who Skypes, the grandparents and the granddaughter? I understand your concern, but can you ask a specific question? (E.g. Is 5 too young to be separated from her parents for two months? Why or why not?) This is a Q&A site. :) – anongoodnurse Jan 24 '18 at 18:42
  • Presumably the 5 yo will not be traveling there alone. So there will be a transition period. How long will this transition period be? Likewise, the return travel will be accompanied. By whom and will there be a period of overlap? Perhaps the 2 months is somewhat less time. – Zayde in NY Jan 24 '18 at 20:42
  • This could be several questions. Is the primary concern the foreign country, the time away from parents, or the language/communication issue? – zugzwang Jan 24 '18 at 21:23
  • I agree there is too much information missing. Please edit to answer the comments (or comment and I'll edit them into your question) and I'll reopen. Thanks. – anongoodnurse Jan 24 '18 at 23:23
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If a parent is going with her, yes it's fine. My own daughter traveled from China to Canada with me when she was three, and after a few days to get accustomed to everything she had a ball.

[Edited] The biggest problem will be the language barrier, since the grandparents don't speak much English, it is essential that a parent goes with her. Having at least one person there she can talk to will help smooth things over and keep her from feeling isolated. Without that security, I wouldn't recommend it.

My own parents had a Skype only relationship with my daughter for the first three and a half years of her life, it kind of worked, she knew them, but it was really hard on my Mother. So as long as she isn't traveling alone and there aren't any extenuating circumstances, I'd recommend stepping aside and letting it happen.

  • Thanks for the answer, Dan. :) It helps if one gives the OP a chance to fill in the gaps (giving all the facts, or most of them) before answering. We don't know if a parent is going. If that would change your answer, then it's best to wait for the first comment to be answered. – anongoodnurse Jan 24 '18 at 23:22
  • Whoops, I saw Skype calls at the end, and forgot the other part. A parent should definitely be there for the whole trip. I'll be more careful, and wait for the gaps to be filled in, in the future. – Dan Clarke Jan 25 '18 at 3:48
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    I don’t think it’s NECESSARILY necessary for a parent to be there the whole time. If the child has met the grandparents over Skype, AND the mother will be there the entire first week, they will all be able to gauge whether the child is adapting well enough for the mother to then leave. If not, it would be good for them to have a backup plan (either the child leaves with mom or both stay longer). – MAA Jan 25 '18 at 18:11
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Have you raised your concerns with your daughter-in-law? Ask her to try speaking only Russian for a few days with her daughter and see how things work out. That may reveal and/or address any significant communication issues prior to the trip.

Why are you the main caregiver? Is your daughter-in-law not physically or mentally capable of caring for your granddaughter?

  • My assumption is that you care for your granddaughter while your daughter-in-law works. If that is correct and your daughter-in-law can safely care for your granddaughter, I don't see a problem. It will likely be beneficial for "mom" to care for her daughter for a full week.
  • If your daughter-in-law is not physically or mentally competent, you should probably investigate guardianship.

If you are concerned about your time away from your granddaughter, request the opportunity to Skype with her while she is in Russia. That may help any symptoms of homesickness, for you and for your granddaughter.

  • Yes, your assumption is correct - my daughter-in-law works nights. It's not the week that I'm concerned about. It's the two months my granddaughter will be in Russia without her mother, and without any means of communicating with her grandparents. – mimi Jan 25 '18 at 21:09
  • And, yes, I would be able to Skype – mimi Jan 25 '18 at 21:10
  • Yes, I have addressed my concerns. I do like the idea of her communicating only in Russian for a while. Thank you - that's a good idea. – mimi Jan 25 '18 at 21:17
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Children don't speak until like 2 and survive.

After she learns where the bed, bathroom, and kitchen are there is not a lot of need for verbal communication.

It is time off for you and a new experience for your granddaughter.

As for time away from family. This is family.

I get you will miss her.

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I agree with Wes. If apart from work, the mother is capable of taking care of her kid physically and mentally, then that should be fine. If anything goes wrong, the mother will respond more eagerly than you do. So enjoy your free time and be prepared for a Russian speaking child in 2 month.

It's likely that during the two month, something you'll see it problematic while the mother doesn't, you can discuss that with the mother, but be tactical. It's very bad for relationship when in-laws question the parent's parental decision.

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    Just want to be clear that the mother will NOT be with her for 2 months. Only with her for 1 week. She will be with non English speaking grandparents for 2 months. – mimi Jan 26 '18 at 16:36
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    @mimi, yes I understand. What I mean is that, if the mother thinks it's fine, it probably is fine. If things doesn't go smoothly, she'll be quicker to respond, although you and the mother might have different threshold for "things are ok". – jf328 Jan 26 '18 at 17:22
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There are tools the entire family can use to communicate basic needs. Using a picture chart/cards to indicate the need for food, drink, bathroom (wash hands, brushing teeth, using the toilet, bath time), playing, car ride (field trip), bedtime, etc will be helpful. The picture board should be in English and Russian in order for both sides to understand each other and for your granddaughter to learn Russian.

I did a quick google for "children's daily routine chart". Though there are a lot of school related examples, your daughter-in-law can create her own glossary of images to help with the language barrier. An emotions chart would be a good idea too.

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These are tools I use in childcare for many reasons. Whether it be a language barrier, or children unable to verbally communicate.

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