Parenting Advisor - Spending Time With The Grandparents: How Kids Can Benefit From Healthy Intergenerational Relationships

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Spending Time With The Grandparents: How Kids Can Benefit From Healthy Intergenerational Relationships


It’s often said it takes a whole village to raise one child, and this certainly includes grandparents. Picture this: children baking cookies with grandma or grandpa, learning family history, and soaking up endless love. Now, consider this is not just an “idyllic image”, it’s backed up by research. A 19-year study involving 730 grandkids and grandparents discovered that those kids lucky enough to have a tight bond with their grandparents had a decreased risk of depression. And, this relationship is a two-way street; grandparents who felt valued and successful also experienced lesser depressive episodes. Though geography or family issues may create hurdles, if feasible, nurturing these special relationships could provide significant emotional armor for your children. Remember, grandparents add to the wellspring of love and care that kids need to flourish. So, whenever and wherever possible, let’s embrace the golden link between the old and young.

They Have Positive Views About Older People

Nowadays, most young people have a lot of misconceptions about the elderly. They often think that older people aren’t interested in the outside world, or they can’t (or refuse to) learn new things. This can make young people very dismissive of the elderly, bordering on disrespect. There is evidence that shows that this attitude towards older people may be due to having less interactions with the elderly, particularly with grandparents.  

In a research of more than 1,000 between the ages of 7 and 16, it was found that those who spent quality time with grandma and grandpa had the most favorable views about elderly people. Moreover, it was revealed that poor quality of contact with grandparents mattered much more than frequency when it came to having ageist views. 

The study shows that having strong intergenerational relationships can prevent ageism, so not only will your children respect older people more, but they’ll also be more comfortable being around the elderly. This can be an advantage, especially if you live in an age inclusive community. That being said, make sure to create opportunities for your child to spend quality time with their grandparents. For instance, they can spend every other weekend with them, or all of you can have dinner together every Friday night.

Better Behavior

Some parents think that allowing grandparents to dote on their children will turn them into spoiled brats. However, an Oxford University study shows that children who are close to their grandparents tend to have fewer behavioral problems. They also are more emotionally resilient, and have higher levels of emotional intelligence. Spending time with their grandparents can also help you child become more socially adept. As a result, they’ll have the skills to thrive in various social settings, and easily get along with people from all walks of life.

Grandparents Can be the One Constant in a Child’s Life

A lot of kids deal with tons of challenges as they grow. On top of school and having to deal with bullies, some of them also have to cope with their parents’ divorce or separation. Being close to a grandparent makes a child feel reassured that no matter what happens, they’ll always be supported and be unconditionally loved. Having a trusted adult who they can turn to in difficult times can also ease their anxiety and sadness and improve your child’s mental health. As a parent, you need to encourage constant communication by scheduling video calls if grandma and grandpa live far away from you and your child’s place. You can also have your little one write a letter, or create a handmade newsletter to keep their grandparents updated about their life. Older children can stay in touch through constant text messages or calls, apart from video calls and visits.

Kids need a lot of love and support as they grow, and grandparents can provide that and a whole lot more. Encourage your children to communicate with their grandma and grandpa, and create opportunities for them to have some quality bonding time together.

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