A lot of parents choose to raise their children near their grandparents. Sure, it makes for free babysitting, but there are plenty of other reasons why it is important to allow children to build strong relationships with their grandparents.
A study from the Cleveland Clinic recently found that caring for children can help relieve stress and improve grandparents’ health.
The study found:
“There is a link between providing this care and reducing stress and we know the relationship between stress and higher risk of dying. If providing care to grandchildren and others in need is one way that can actually reduce stress, then these activities should be of benefit to folks who are grandparents and provide this care to their grandkids.”
Here are five more benefits for both children and their grandparents:
1. Support System
When grandparents live nearby or are involved in the lives of their grandchildren, children are likely to have less behavioral problems and emotional issues. A study from the University of Oxford says:
“Professor Ann Buchanan from the Department of Social Policy and Intervention showed that a high level of grandparental involvement increases the well-being of children. A study of more than 1,500 children showed that those with a high level of grandparental involvement had fewer emotional and behavioral problems.”
2. Increases Resilience
Studies have shown that kids who understand their family history and know where they fit in are often more resilient than those that do not understand those things. According to research by Dr. Marshall Duke and Dr. Robyn Fivush from Emory University;
“Telling our kids family stories may even lower the chances of anxiety and depression, even when world events stand to trigger a negative response. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush followed up with the kids who had participated in their study only months before. Those who knew they had a place in a larger family story were more resilient than those who scored low on what they knew about their families. An intergenerational identity helped serve as a shield between these kids and catastrophe.”
3. Makes Kids Less Ageist
Ageism is a real thing, and you may have witnessed or even been guilty of it. The truth is, if we are lucky, we will all be old one day. Making fun of someone for their age is never OK, and when children are around elderly people, they are less likely to do that. They learn to understand the elderly and why they do the things they do and act the way they do. It can help to make children more well-rounded individuals.
4. Prevents Adult Depression
Spending time with grandparents can help fight adult depression. A 2014 study from Boston College found:
“For both grandparents and adult grandchildren, greater affinity reduced depressive symptoms and more frequent contact increased symptoms. For grandparents only, receiving functional support without also providing it increased depressive symptoms.”
5. Helps Grandparents Live Longer
When grandparents spend time with their grandchildren, they are more likely to be active and participate in physical activity. This can help improve their health and help them live longer. Dr. Ronan Factora of the Cleveland Clinic said:
“You want to make sure that you find that right balance where you are doing what you can to stay active, doing good for the folks that you’re helping out with, but don’t do too much where you get to the point where you’re overly stressed.”
It’s not always easy to raise your children around their grandparents.
Sometimes, people struggle with time, distance, and personal problems that can get in the way. While you don’t need to live with the grandparents for them to have a positive impact on their grandchildren or vice versa, allowing them to interact with each other on a regular basis can do wonders for your family dynamic and the health and well-being of both the grandparents and grandchildren.
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