A Grandparent’s Love
Until I became a grandmother, I could not possibly understand the feeling of watching my baby girl have her baby boy. She asked why I was crying as soon as he was born, and I had no words except, “You will understand when your child has a baby!”
When your parents watch their grandchildren achieve milestones and grow and learn, they have a love that is so dear, and the pride is real and unmatched. No one adores your children like a grandparent. And your children will learn so much from them in the form of unspoken and lasting ideals.
When children have good relationships with their grandparents, the benefits honestly go way beyond warm fuzzy feelings or Christmas presents. It turns out close bonds affect how they view the elderly in general. A new study, published in the journal Child Development, finds that youngsters who spend quality time with their grandparents are less likely to hold "ageist" opinions about older people.
“When I spent time with my grandchildren, I found that alone time with them, away from their parents when I babysat when they went on trips, gave them a feeling of security. They realized that I loved them just as much as Mommy and Daddy,” says Olivene Harper, grandmother to four grown grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “Now that my grandchildren are older, I enjoy the conversations I hold with them about their school, own children and jobs. It is the most enriching relationship I could ever wish to have. And, even though my grandson is 22 now and in college, he still asks for a batch of my homemade chocolate chip cookies for any holiday, which I gladly mail to him.”
Truly, grandparents are always a blast! They shower your children with unconditional love and expect nothing in return. Just spending time with your kiddos gives them complete fulfillment. Life is busy, and thank goodness Skype, social media and fancy phones now send videos, photos and conversations, so no matter where you all live, you can stay close.
A big part of what your parents will do for your children is to reinforce the morals you are teaching them. The lessons of the older generation, who have wisdom and experiences you may not have had yet, can enrich your child. Those stories, morals, advice and new activities (from the old days!) can shape your children’s thoughts and reflect in their personalities later on.
Grandparents understand like no friend can. A friendly connection at home helps restore mental agility and becomes a stress reliever as well. A grandparent rarely worries about your child’s grades or other social parameters that, as a parent, you must worry about. Kindness from a grandparent helps kids with both social and cognitive behaviors.
If this is not enough, here is one more proven fact: Grandparents who spend time with their grandchildren live longer, which means your children get more time with them and you can reap the benefits of having them around. In fact, a study showed that grandparents who provided some sort of care for their grandchildren had a 37 percent lower death ratio than those who did not. Spending time helps sharpen your parents’ cognitive skills and reduces stress, helps memory and other mental tasks. It makes them stay more active and results in lower depression.
So, while you are exposing your children to a wealth of knowledge and experience in their grandparents, you are at the same time giving your parents a treasured gift of a healthier lifestyle and fulfillment beyond measure.
To help young children bond with grandparents, try these ideas:
- Plan playdates or special activities. For example, if your parents like movies, have them take your child to a movie in the theater. This gives them a special time to laugh and be close.
- Involve your parents in the lessons you are teaching your child. If you have taken the special effort to teach a toddler sign language to help him communicate, show your parents so they can interact.
- Reinforce traditions your parents impart, such as making sausage balls for Christmas morning, grilled cheese sandwiches on birthdays or helping wash the car. Activities like this are the ones that last.
An avid outdoors girl, Judy Goppert lives in Lee’s Summit and enjoys all seasons, especially summer. She enjoys drawing on her personal experiences to write about the nuances of everything wonderful about life.