Fortunate are the children who have active grandparents in their lives. Spending time with grandparents is enriching to youth in so many ways, physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. A weekend at grandma and grandpa's house? Bye, kids! You'll be missed, but this is really for everyone's own good. Here are 14 amazing benefits of grandparents being in their grandchildren's lives.
Grandparents Increase Children's Emotional Intelligence
Raising emotionally, well-adjusted children is the goal of all parents, and it can be argued that to do this, you need Grandma and Grandpa by your side. Researchers in the United Kingdom found that children who spent more time with their grandparents were at a decreased risk for having emotional and behavioral issues, and were far better off in terms of their emotional intelligence, compared to children who did not have grandparents involved in their lives. The study highlighted that this is particularly true for adolescences from divorced or separated families. If you want happy children who are better able to process emotions, invite grandpa over for a snack.
Hanging With Grandma Can Reduce Ageism
Ageism is a real thing, and it's not good. It isn't acceptable to harbor ill feelings toward any human being without a true cause, and this includes neglecting or avoiding the elderly simply because of their age. Studies have shown that children as young as age three exhibit negative attitudes towards older people. Spending time with grandparents can greatly reduce attitudes of ageism in young people.
No One Nurtures Happiness Like a Grandparent
Grandparents have an uncanny ability to make their grandchildren smile on demand. Parents, especially those with younger children, may quite frequently be running on empty, desperate for a shower, a snack that does not include goldfish crackers or five minutes of absolute silence. When the grandparents do not live in the same home as their grandchildren, spending time together may feel extra special for both parties. Grandparents may also be retired and have more energy and patience when playing with younger children, plus parents get a much-needed breather. Quality time with the grandparents is a joyous win for everybody.
Grandparents Enhance Prosocial Behaviors
Who knew that time spent with grandma or grandpa would help produce a sweet-natured kid who kicks butt in school? Grandparents' financial and emotional support was shown to increase their grandchild's prosocial behavior, as well as their school engagement, even with a follow-up a year later. This study focused on 10 to 14 year-olds residing in both single and two-parent families. Regardless of the type of family, grandparent involvement led to an increase in kind, empathetic behavior. An adolescent who is considerate toward others and happily engaged in school? Now that is reason to celebrate!
Spending Time With Grandparents Can Increase Happiness
The power of true connection! Strong grandparent-grandchild relationships can impact depressive symptoms in children and the elderly alike. A close relationship between grandparents and grandchildren has been linked to a decrease in symptoms of depression for both generations. Grandparents in the study were found to be less depressed when they received or gave tangible help to their grandchildren. Anything from rides to the store, advice on life, or financial assistance were contributors to the lessened depressive symptoms found in older adults. Go ahead and ask grandma for a ride to the store or for some friendship advice. It is clearly good for her mental health.
Grandparents Can Provide an Understanding of Family History
Grandparents have amazing access to family history that many parents may be unaware of. Teaching grandchildren about where they come from, and the struggles and successes of the family, helps grandchildren better understand their family's history. Grandparents may have old family heirlooms to pass down, like photo albums, secret family recipes, and interesting treasures that grandchildren would certainly enjoy and can learn from. Grandparents who share their stories can keep their memories alive, which for many older individuals, is incredibly important. Every family is unique in its makeup and journey. The older generations can often unlock the past, making it a part of the present for younger generations to learn about their heritage and roots.
Grandparents Offer Endless Cuddles
There is just something special about a good hug that comes from grandma or grandpa. Not only do hugs make people feel safe, supported, and secure, but they also release oxytocin for both people who are embracing. That means, when grandma gives her grandkid a squeeze, both of their brains release this feel-good neurotransmitter that brings up feelings of love, connection, and bonding. Next time you snuggle up close to your grandchild, consider this act the same as taking a daily dose of emotional medicine.
Grandparents Enable Better Insight Into Parents
Grandparents offer a window into the lives of their grandchildren's parents. There is a natural curiosity about when, where, and how their parents grew up for many kids. What were mom and dad like when they were youngsters? Parents often paint part of the picture for their kids, but grandparents remember every detail quite vividly. Grandparents can offer funny anecdotes that parents may not recall about their upbringing. These are worth their weight in gold to kids, as these stories truly humanize their beloved parents. Memories can help a child better understand their parents while connecting with their grandparents over storytime.
Grandparents Are Always Ready to Teach a New Skill Set
Grandparents certainly lived at a different time compared to their grandchildren. The skills they may have acquired along the way may be of interest to their grandchildren. Older generations may enjoy teaching skills such as sewing, cooking, baking, and woodworking, passing those arts down to their grandchildren. Kids learn something new, grandparents keep traditions alive, and everyone gets to spend quality time together honing in on new skill sets. Kids can change up the game and try to teach grandma or grandpa something new as well. Grandparents are happy to sit down and take a swing at something the kids find new and cool.
Grandparents Strengthen Bonds
Spending time with grandparents fosters intergenerational family connections. This opens the door for grandparents and grandchildren to learn about maintaining healthy and safe relationships with people who differ greatly in age. Bond with your grandparent by asking them questions about their lives. Listen to the answers they give you. You might learn that while you have decades between you, you also have much in common. Humans want and need to feel connected and bonded to others. There is no better person to foster a bond with than your grandparent.
Grandparents Teach Kids Unconditional Love
A grandparent knows what unconditional love looks like better than anyone. When it comes to their grandbabies, all they have to do is love them. This is precisely why grandparenting is the greatest gig on earth. Whatever the kids do, grandparents love them regardless. There is not much you can throw at a grandparent that they haven't already seen a time or two.
Grandma and Grandpa Aid in the Childcare Arena
Raising kids is costly, especially when you factor in the average amount of money families spend on childcare each year. Enter grandparents. Having grandma or grandpa watch the kids while you go out into the world and earn a dollar can help families out financially and give grandparents something to dedicate their days to. Even if you try and pay your parents for helping you with the kids, they probably won't take your money anyhow.
Grandkids Are the Ultimate Second Chance
Parenting is one of life's true marathons. Throughout the many decades of raising kids (this job doesn't simply stop when children reach the age of 18), there will undoubtedly be things that grandma and grandpa would go back and change if they could. Good news! They get to do things all over with the grandkids, repaving the child-rearing path as they look at life through refreshed lenses. The universe isn't always great at giving out second chances, but helping to raise grandkids is truly a gift and another shot at the most important job in the world.
Spending Time Together Can Help Grandparents Live Longer
Everyone wants grandma and grandpa to live forever, and it turns out grandkids can actually help their elders reach old age simply by being around. Studies have shown that those who babysit their grandkids have a 37% lower mortality rate compared to people of the same age who do not have consistent childcare duties assigned to their daily lives. This may be attributed to the fact that older people who care for younger children have a great sense of purpose, remain active (kids are fast!), and spend their days honing in on cognitive function and skill. Plan a date night or drop the kids at your parents' house so you can run errands. You aren't taking advantage of them; you are doing it to extend their life!
The Benefits of Treasuring Time With Grandparents
Time spent with grandma and grandpa is sure to lead to fun, not to mention some pretty incredible mental shifts. Whether they are teaching their grandkids how to cook, encouraging them to be kind individuals, or schooling them in a board game, experiences with them usually leave their grandkids feeling warm and fuzzy.