Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children. – Alex Haley
Grandparents are like a big warm hug. They love your children with a ferocity that only matches your own. But they also offer kids a whole heap of patience and wisdom gained from years of their own experience.
And they usually come bearing treats for their grandchildren! Just to make life that little bit sweeter.
The importance of grandparents in a child’s life is undeniable. Here’s why and what the experts have to say about it:
They wrap your child in endless love
While parents might have been up in the night and awake since the crack of dawn and frazzled from the stress of juggling work and parenthood, Grandparents have more time and patience to shower their grandchildren with love and attention.
They have the time to really focus on their grandchildren – to get down on the floor and play with them, to hold their hands on a walk and talk to them.
It’s also an unwritten rule that grandparents are allowed to spoil their grandchildren more than a little and can relax the rules from time to time.
They might give extra treats, later bedtimes, longer bedtime stories or just let their grandchildren have more fun and simply be children.
This is often a breath of fresh air and a welcome change from time-pressured parents.
They can be the calm in the storm
Because they are free from doling out discipline Grandparents hold a unique position. They can listen to their grandchildren without judgment, criticism or without having to lay down the law.
Instead they can gently guide them to find a solution or to feel better. They are a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear for all sorts of problems. Especially those that grandchildren might not feel as easy talking to their own mum and dad about.
Spending time with grandparents can act as a buffer against the busyness and stress that children can feel in their lives.
In a study conducted by the University of Hertfordshire on the The Impact of Grandparenting on the Well Being of Children, children themselves reported:
time spent with grandparents as being a calm time, in which few demands were made of them and they were able to relax precisely because their grandparents were calm
They share all sorts of new skills
Grandparents have a whole host of skills and wisdom that they share with their grandchildren. And they make the most patient teachers.
There’s nothing lovelier than helping Grandma bake a cake or learning how to knit a scarf. There’s nothing more fun that helping Grandad finish his crossword or fix the lawnmower.
The lessons that Grandparents teach are organic and unstructured. They just happen during time spent with them and kids can join in at their side.
Because there’s no pressure, children are often keener to learn too.
They have so much fun by their grandparents’ side that often they don’t even realise they are learning at all.
They make our children happier
Studies have proven that children who have a close relationship with their grandparents are happier.
Research from the University of Oxford is just one study, which found that grandparents play a vital role in children’s wellbeing.
The study of over 1500 children found that those who had a strong relationship with their grandparents had fewer emotional and behavioural problems than those without.
And that this support lasts throughout the turbulent teenage years. The study found a link between grandparental involvement and adolescent wellbeing.
The relationship between your kids and their grandparents is one to be treasured. It makes their lives richer, better and happier in so many ways.
They’re the keepers of communities
Grandparents are family historians.
They share stories and secrets of times gone by with their grandchildren. They can make history come alive.
Wide eyes light up as grandchildren hear tales about how Great Grandma had to use powdered eggs to make cakes during the war. Or how Grandad had to catch a steam train to school, where he was scared of getting the belt from the fierce geography teacher.
They often keep up long established family traditions. They bring the extended family and cousins together for high days and holidays.
Whether it’s rolling eggs at Easter time or all searching for the silver sixpence in the Christmas pudding, they make their grandchildren’s lives a little more fun.
What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humour, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.”