We all know that grandparents are our kids’ go-to source for bear hugs, commiseration (you are the common enemy) and contraband snacks. But did you know that kids benefit from their grandparent’s advice, guidance and endless love too? Yup, research shows that it’s a win-win for both generations, and so, in honor of Grandparent’s Day on Sept. 12, here are 10 reasons why it’s important for your kids to get in that QT with Nana, Pop-Pop, Mimi or Gramps.
Grandparents Provide Unconditional Love
Grandparents love your children and want to be around them, helping them mature and shaping them into smart, caring adults. Showering your children with unconditional love will go a long way towards instilling confidence in them and ensuring a brighter future.
You'll Help Your Parents Live Longer
Scientists now believe that grandparents who babysit live longer than those who don’t. The study showed babysitting grandparents had a whopping 37% lower mortality risk than adults of the same age who have no “caring responsibilities.” They believe time spent with grandchildren creates a sense of purpose and also helps keep grandparents physically and mentally active.
Grandparents Want to Show Them the World!
Hopefully, your mom and dad will want to share the world with your kiddos and take them to visit historic and educational destinations, starting in your own hometown. Your parents may have the financial means to go a little further and take the kids on a skip-gen trip by themselves. Count yourself very lucky if they can.
They Can Enjoy New Experiences Together
Grandparents will want to spend quality time with your kids, opening their eyes to everything that’s out there. Let your mom and dad take your kids on educational, yet fun outings—to museums, art shows and musical theatre performances. Let the grandparents serve as role models, showcasing their passion for culture. Kids who are exposed to the arts will be more likely to pursue these experiences on their own as they continue to grow.
You Can All Be Part of a Team
Raising children is like a team sport. You’ve heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Encourage your parents to be a part of the team and let them take great pride in fostering your children to becoming confident, healthy adults. That’s something you can all be proud of accomplishing.
You'll End Up with Happier, More Secure Children
If you need more convincing, a study at the University of Oxford by Professor Ann Buchanan from the Department of Social Policy and Intervention showed that “a high level of grandparental involvement increased the well-being of children.” Their study of more than 1,500 children showed that those with a high level of grandparental involvement had fewer emotional and behavioral problems.
Grandparents Can Be Your Child’s Best Sounding Board and Source of Comfort
It’s a tough world out there. Your kids see how hard you work and may feel more comfortable sharing their issues and concerns with their grandparents, who will probably be less judgemental. If your child dreams of becoming an astronaut, grandparents have the power to encourage him or her. If a family is struggling, grandparents can just be there to listen and provide empathy for their fears.
Your Kids Can Learn About the Past
There was a time in the not-so-distant past where our lives were not ruled by technology. Grandparents love to share how different their own lives were when everyone wasn’t so tethered to a digital world. Add in their favorite music and pop bands, and grandparents tune in to the “good old days.” Kids will love seeing pictures of their grandparents doing their “favorite things” and come to understand how different life was back then and how different their own lives could be moving forward.
Grandparents Can Help Kids Do Good for Others
The elder generation may also place a high value on volunteering at religious and social service organizations. They may ask to bring the kids along with them at events like sorting donations at a food bank, packing school supplies and purchasing warm coats for needy children. Participating in these kinds of activities will teach your children about compassion.
Your Kids Can Learn About and Share Their Values
Grandparents have an opportunity to share values like the importance of getting a good education, staying close to family and being kind to children at school who may be physically and mentally challenged offer a strong background. Listening to their grandparents will teach your kiddos how to incorporate their values into their everyday lives. The influence of positive role models is critical as children tend to model the behaviors they see.
Featured image: iStock