Grandma and grandpa were right when they said you were going to need them! If you've ever wondered if your parents, parents-in-law or other elderly relatives were going to be important to your child's wellbeing, the answer is a resounding yes.
Obviously, you'll want to ensure that the grandparent in question is one who will offer a positive influence in your child's life. But in general, there are many reasons why your child will benefit in the short- and long-term from being close to their grandparents.
1. Unconditional interactions
Love associated with grandparents often feels different than that of parent-child relationships. This is because grandparents (in most cases) aren't focused on stressful issues like discipline or saving money for school. Instead, their interactions with children can be unchanging and unaffected by day-to-day problems.
2. A wealth of knowledge
Grandparents have so much to teach our little ones. From what life was like in the past to avoiding mistakes they've already made, they can help our children become aware many things other places of learning might not touch on. Letting your child spend time with their elders ensures they'll be able to soak up this knowledge — without even realizing it!
3. Promoting happiness and wellbeing
A recent study published in The Gerontologist found kids who have a strong relationship with a grandparent tend to experience a reduction in depressive symptoms. But that's not all. Grandparents actually experience the same effects when they have a strong affinity for and spend time with their grandchildren.
4. Consistency and safety
In a rapidly changing world, grandparents provide a sense of security and steadfastness. Because they have reached an older age and are still here, it reminds kids there will always be safe harbors to go to. Grandparents are unchanging, and kids thrive on that security.
5. Passing on your traditions
No matter where you come from or who you are, your family likely has important traditions that stretch back over decades and possibly even centuries. Your parents are a wonderful source to help you understand and pass on these traditions to your little one. Just think: one day all three of you might engage in these powerful customs together.
6. Adding extra support
Grandparents help to support a family, especially in times of crisis. A study at The University of Oxford found grandparents are particularly crucial supporters during divorce or separation. In addition, many children in the study were found to have fewer emotional and behavioral problems due to the added support of a grandparent.
7. Love of the job
It's a bit of cliché to say grandparents love being grandparents, but it often seems to be true. According to a 2004 study, 53% of individuals surveyed said they were "very satisfied" with their role of grandparent, and another 41% said they were "satisfied." It's hard to beat those numbers!
8. Good behavior
Most grandparents take their job seriously (as seen in the previous paragraph). This means they really want to be a good role model for their grandchildren, as they know the seriousness of their position in the family. When you leave your child with your parent, you can usually assume they'll both be on their best behavior!
9. Fast friendship
Grandparents and grandchildren usually find it easy to become friendly with one another. Many children even consider a grandparent to be more of a friend than a parent, as the latter needs to lay down the law more often. Being able to foster an intergenerational friendship is especially meaningful for young children who learn the value of this kind of connection early on.
10. A two-way street
Although most of the focus here is on grandparents providing benefits to children, the reverse is also true. Being around your children will keep your parents and parents-in-law feeling young, needed and involved. These effects will, in turn, benefit your elderly relatives when it comes to both physical and mental wellbeing, especially when the relationship between them and their grandchildren is positive.
So, there you have it. Nana and Pop-Pop are actually two of the best people on the planet to spend time with your kids. And not just because they might offer to babysit more often, which would give you a little personal time; that's just icing on the cake.