Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
February 21, 2024 ·  4 min read

Why the Time Spend With Grandparents is Priceless

Before I was six years old, I used to spend a lot of weekends with my grandparents. My grandma used to read to me from a book of fairy tales as she sat next to my bed at night. Even after all these years, I still remember paying close attention to Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Puss and Boots, and several more stories.

Tears well up in my eyes, simply remembering these wonderful occasions. I was warm, cozy, and full of love. As I write this, I realize that these early interactions with my grandma most likely ignited my curiosity in the human mind. We frequently overlook the important contributions grandparents—and vice versa—make to the lives of their grandkids in our youth-focused society.

Nonetheless, a growing number of youngsters are living in multigenerational families with their grandparents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and current inflationary financial strains. Consequently, more kids are getting to spend time with their grandparents. What effects has this had on grandparents and their grandchildren?

Making the switch from being a parent to a grandparent is complex. Usually, in late midlife, being a grandparent means adjusting to a new social position. It is linked to embracing new ideas and ways of doing things, like cleaning up after dinner or watching TV, that might conflict with ingrained habits. It calls for what may be considered “sacrifices.”

Nevertheless, a 2018 Flinders University, Australia, study of 262 female and 168 male grandparents over the first two years of their transition to grandparenthood found that more time spent babysitting the grandchild was associated with improvement in mental health, in contrast to earlier American findings that suggested childcare was burdensome.

What Does Research Say About Building Relationships With Grandparents

Research on the relationship between grandparents’ internet use and grandchild care is helpful in this regard. The study’s authors note that older persons’ use of the internet to stay in touch with friends and family promotes family cohesiveness, which improves senior women’s health and life satisfaction more than it does men’s.

This line of connection is particularly crucial for rural grandparents whose adult children have moved to the city to find employment. As a result, girls are more likely than men to have parent-child online communication, and females also gain more from internet use. These conclusions apply here just as much as they do in China, of course.

According to Thomas R. Verny, M.D., writing for Psychology Today, studies conducted in China, a country where parent-grandparent co-parenting is highly prevalent, have shown that there are significant advantages for all parties when parents and grandparents get along. Eighty percent of the families in this research had just one kid, and the majority of the families were three-generational households. Moms who were close to their children’s grandparents—grandmothers in particular—and who co-parented well reported feeling more competent in their duties as parents. The research authors explain that grandparents may be a great resource for support, encouragement, and good role modeling when they work together to raise their grandchildren. They base this on their extensive experience as parents. This, in turn, may affect moms’ self-confidence in their role as parents.

Increased self-assurance leads to moms approaching parenting with more optimism and persistence, which improves their children’s social development. The guilt parents may have for missing part of the day or even longer might be somewhat relieved by these valuable contacts.

The Conversations Play An Important Role

Having conversations with grandkids can help keep them cognitively and physically engaged. Caring for grandkids frequently entails engaging in physical activities such as playing, walking, dressing, or doing more laundry. Grandparents can gain from improved socializing as they interact with the friends, their parents, and teachers of their grandkids. This will help them with the loneliness and isolation that comes with age, and they often suffer from it.

They often get to share their experience, knowledge, and family customs with their grandkids. Give them the chance. This will not only work as a bonding moment between the two generations but also help your kids understand their roots and customs as they begin to identify with them, strengthening their self-worth.

Early adulthood continues to be a significant time for grandparents’ interactions, according to research from the Institute for Engaged Aging at Clemson University in South Carolina. Family conflicts can occasionally impede harmonious cross-generational relationships, whether caused by one party or the other. If disagreements, in-law drama, or other difficulties have kept your grandchildren or children from experiencing a positive grandparent-grandchild relationship, it might be time to put the old battleaxe aside and make peace for the good of all.

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