Four Ways Grandparents Benefit from Regular Interaction with Grandkids
If you are a grandparent, you know the wonderful feeling you get when you welcome a new grandchild into your life. The saying is true — there is no other feeling like that of being a grandparent. It's so different than becoming a parent.
The love you feel for your grandchild is different from the love you feel for your children. The expectations and roles are similar yet different. As a grandchild, the love you feel for your grandparents is likely different than the love you feel for your parents due to the same reasons.
The stereotypical grandparent has white hair and wrinkles and bakes the best cookies and bread. We think they are old and fragile. We often worry about making sure their affairs are in order. This includes purchasing life insurance for grandmother, funeral arrangements for grandpa, and who gets the homestead when they pass.
Maybe that's true for your grandparents. But the stereotype isn't necessarily the reality for most. As people are becoming parents at a much younger age, grandparents are much younger than the stereotype would have us believe.
As a grandchild, I was very close to my paternal grandmother. She was my favorite person on the planet. I often say that she was everything to me, and if I could have had more years with her, I would have done anything to make it happen.
From my experience as a grandchild and a grandmother, I can honestly say that spending time with grandkids has had a profound impact on the quality of my life. It will continue to be a positive effect on me.
Here are a few ways that spending time with grandkids benefits grandparents.
#1– Grandkids Help Grandparents Maintain an Active Lifestyle
Spending quality time with grandkids helps grandparents to remain physically active. Whether playing games or taking walks, the time spent with little ones will have you on the go and on your feet for sure.
Frequently, grandparents who live close to their kids can babysit their grandchildren, which keeps them active. Toddlers are always on the move, and grandparents (if able) enjoy the chase. Picking up babies and toddlers also builds strength and stamina.
As grandchildren grow, they typically become active in sports and other recreational activities. Grandparents don't want to miss a moment of that child's life, so they will often become spectators, which gets them out of the house and keeps them physically engaged. There are several outdoor activities to stay physically fit that grandkids can even do with their grandparents.
Grandparents don't necessarily have to be playing to be physically active. For some, getting out, driving, and sharing in special moments is enough to build stamina. As we age and our mobility becomes slower and a little unsteady, we want to use it, so we don't lose it.
Spending time with grandkids is a great way to ensure we are getting our steps in and staying healthy.
#2 – Grandkids Help Grandparents Live Longer
In recent years, studies have shown that grandparents who are actively spending time with their grandchildren tend to live longer. They are more active by staying physically fit and living with purpose. Living longer may also be attributed to less stress, more happiness, and staying engaged with high-energy people.
If you were lucky enough to spend time with your grandparents as a child, some of your best memories might involve those interactions. The snuggles, hugs, and kisses are sweeter coming from grandparents. That is not to discount the love of a parent, but the love of a grandparent is somewhat different, though not more important than that of a parent.
3 – Grandkids Provide Grandparents with Mental Health Benefits
Studies have shown that grandparents who spend quality time with their grandchildren report lesser instances of depressive symptoms. With so many seasonal depression cases, year-round interaction with grandkids can combat the symptoms.
Grandparents who regularly interact with grandchildren show unconditional love and contentment. It's fun to be fun again.
It's also motivation when you have little ones who you aren't entirely responsible for. As the grandparent, you can shower your grandkid with love and gifts, and you don't always have to be the disciplinarian. It is almost calming to spend time with grandchildren, and the love is strong and pure.
Mental clarity and clarity of cognitive thought is also another benefit. In other words, spending time with the grandkids can clear the cobwebs and relieve stress that leads to distorted thought processes.
Spending at least one day per week, interacting with grandkids, can also provide a purpose in life. Parents may be tired, frazzled, and in need of a break. That is where grandparents can step in. Being able to help relieve their stress, even briefly, gives a sense of purpose and a feeling of being helpful and needed.
#4 – Grandkids Increase Family Bonds and Promote Happiness
With grandkids, your social calendar is suddenly full. There are fewer chances of lonely days at home watching game shows. As the relationship with a grandchild grows, they will often invite you to more functions such as ballgames, school programs, and church services.
Grandchildren love to hear stories of what their parents were like as kids. They love to learn about their family heritage. These stories can help to build or strengthen a family bond.
The renewed energy that comes from being a grandparent encourages feelings of happiness and joy. The bonds created through nurturing the relationship will last a lifetime. Your grandchildren will remember you fondly long after you have left this earth if you share the true meaning of unconditional love.
Another benefit of being a grandparent is watching your children as parents. This is rewarding, but you can see the values you instilled in them at work. It is such a joy and a blessing to witness your grandchildren's love for your child.
In fact, it has put a big smile on my face as I think of my children and grandchildren as I type these words.
About the Author
Robyn Flint writes and researches for the insurance site, EffortlessInsurance.com. She is a licensed realtor, a freelance writer, a published author, and an entrepreneur. Robyn has an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and has previously worked in skilled nursing facilities.
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