In modern society, the family unit has undeniably transformed from an emphasis on big, extended families to small, nuclear ones. With these emerging dynamics, grandparents usually do not live in the same household with their kids and grandkids anymore. Because of this, grandchildren these days rarely have quality time with their grandparents.
Although it has become the norm these days, there are a lot of reciprocal benefits from grandparent-grandchild bonding. Based on one study, it was found out that grandparents who care for their grandkids have a lesser mortality risk by 37 percent compared with similar-aged adults who do not have any caregiving responsibilities. As for grandchildren who spend a lot of quality time with their grandparents, they are happier and less likely to undergo depression in the future, according to research by the University of Oxford.
Here are some advantages of increased bonding between grandparents and their grandchildren.
1. Boosts Emotional Intelligence
It is a well-known fact that grandparents usually fill in for overworked and/or single parents. Especially in today’s world where everyone seems to be so immersed and busy with their careers, grandparents are readily there to handle some parental matters for their grandchildren.
One research found that children who spend a lot of quality time with their grandparents are less likely to have emotional and behavioral issues. In terms of emotional intelligence, they are far better than kids who do not have any grandparents involved in their lives.
2. Fosters Happiness
Grandparents do have a knack for making their grandchildren smile. You probably noticed this with how your parents interact with your kids.
With parents juggling work and household responsibilities, they frequently get exhausted. When they get home, they cannot really provide the amount of enthusiasm and energy that their kids need.
But when grandparents live in the same house as their grandkids, they could offer a helping hand to everyone.
Since grandparents are usually at their retirement age, they have more energy and patience when playing with younger children. This offers parents a much-needed breather. Thus, it is a win-win situation for everyone.
3. Builds Positive Social Behavior
Kids who grow up spending a lot of quality time with their grandparents tend to grow up as empathic individuals. Several studies have confirmed that kids growing up with grandparents involved exhibit kind and compassionate behavior regardless of the family type.
As adolescents, children with good relationships with their grandmothers and grandfathers are more engaged in school and excel in academics.
4. Alleviate Depressive Symptoms
Spending quality time with grandparents growing up also has a positive impact on children’s mental health. Kids with a close relationship with their grandparents are less likely to fall into depression. The same thing goes for grandparents who spend a lot of time with their grandkids.
5. Celebrate Rich Family History
Grandparents offer vast access to family history that even parents are not aware of. Grandchildren gain knowledge about where they come from. The struggles and successes of the family offer an eye-opening experience to them, making them understand and appreciate their family’s unique history.
Grandparents tend to have old family heirlooms they could pass down to the next generation, like a photo album, a piece of jewelry, or a secret family history as well. Most of the time, these pieces have an interesting back story, which helps grandparents and grandkids bond as they talk about it.
Elderly adults, especially those living in nursing homes or under urgent care, also need someone with whom they can share stories. Bonding with their grandchildren helps them keep their memories alive, reducing the likelihood of early-onset dementia.
6. Warm Cuddles
An individual needs at least four hugs a day for survival. When kids live closer to their grandparents, both have unlimited access to good hugs. Hugging fosters the release of oxytocin for both people hugging. So, when either grandma or grandpa gives a tight squeeze to their grandkid, they both feel loved, connected, and safe.
7. Insight to Parents’ Lives
Grandparents can tell their grandchildren stories about the lives of their parents. It is only natural for kids to be curious as to how and where their parents grew up. Grandparents can offer a bunch of wholesome and funny anecdotes that even parents cannot recall about their upbringing. These are priceless treasures that only grandparents have the power to share.
8. Learn New Skill Set
Grandparents’ childhoods are completely different from that of their grandchildren. With this in mind, grandparents usually have acquired some skill sets that might interest their grandchildren too. It could be anything — cooking, sewing, baking, and woodwork. Spending time doing these hobbies allows kids to learn more, and it becomes even more meaningful because they are learning it from their loved ones.
It is undeniable that the time spent with grandparents is priceless and enjoyable. Thus, parents need to encourage their kids to spend more quality time with their grandparents.