National Grandparents Day was yesterday, so let’s take some extra time to appreciate how valuable they are in our lives. You may have special memories with your grandparents, or maybe you appreciate the relationship between your kids and parents. Either way, it matters in a big way when grandparents show up in our lives.
Some of my most treasured memories to look back on as a child happened right at the kitchen table with my grandpa. We’d play the card game War (he’d let me cheat), make pasta sauce from scratch, and sing songs from when he was younger. Even though he passed away when I was only 10 years old, I still count that time together as some of the most significant parts of my younger years.
Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a close relationship with our grandparents. However, if we can foster that relationship, it can be so worth it! As parents, I think we can all agree the more people loving on our kids, the better.
9 Reasons Why Grandparents Matter
Here are some of the benefits of having present grandparents:
1. Unconditional love.
Instead of saving the best for last, I had to get this one out first because it’s the TRUTH! The love a grandparent has for their grandchild knows no bounds. As a mother, I can confirm that a parent’s love also knows no bounds, but there is something unique and special about grandparents.
Maybe it’s the fact that they aren’t responsible 24/7 for raising kids anymore, but grandparents have a much simpler kind of love for their grandkids. There isn’t all the pressure of making big parenting decisions that are so distracting at times. They can just offer their love and support freely.
2. Family traditions and history.
Family traditions give us a special feeling of belonging and security. Kids thrive on routines and predictability, so having different traditions in place gives them predictable family events to count on. Grandparents are amazing at keeping family traditions alive!
In addition to traditions, hearing grandparents’ stories about “the good ol’ days” is a beautiful way to keep our present connected to our past. Life isn’t just what’s in front of us. There’s a history and significance to it all. And there is no better way to learn for the future than by looking back on what happened in the past.
3. They impart wisdom.
Because of the history that they’ve experienced, grandparents have tons of wisdom to pass on! They help both their children and grandchildren in this regard. Parents of young children are often nervous, unsure of their decisions, and less patient. Having their parents to advise them during tough parenting moments helps them see things differently or feel confident in the choices they’re making.
For children, the knowledge of a grandparent can almost seem magical. Kids are constantly asking questions, and where a parent may be too busy or impatient to answer them all, grandparents love sharing their wisdom. They can learn new skills, see different perspectives, and gain a maturity that comes from spending time with a wise grandparent.
4. Sense of stability.
Grandparents are reliable even in the most tumultuous of times. Whether it be a divorce, a big move, or even just a rough patch with mom, grandparents are always there and ready to love on their grandchildren. Since they can have a bond almost as close as a parent-child one, it means the world to kids when they can turn to their grandparents for stability through anything life throws at them.
5. A major source of help for parents.
Let’s be honest here, we parents rely heavily on grandparents, too! Between babysitting and helping out when we’re sick, the enormous weight lifted by grandparents cannot be overstated.
With so many families having two career or single-parent households, grandparents can be a saving grace in terms of childcare. Not only do they save you money, but more importantly, you have confidence that your children are with someone who knows and loves them! Some situations don’t allow for (or need) grandparents to watch their grandkids full time, but you can bet they’re happy to have a sleepover whenever possible.
6. They make kids feel significant.
Do you have special memories of going to grandma’s house as a child? If so, you probably remember how exciting it was to be doted on and admired for a whole evening! Getting one-on-one attention from grandparents is something that sticks with us throughout our lives.
Imagine what a night of quality time like that does to a kid’s self-esteem? The fact that their grandparents want to spend more time with and take care of them is sure to leave them feeling pretty good about themselves. Kids need to have multiple people in their lives that make them feel significant.
7. Kids can teach grandparents, too.
There’s a wealth of knowledge to be learned from grandparents, but kids have a few tricks up their sleeves as well! In terms of differences in generations right now, technology is a huge gap in most cases. It can be helpful to have grandkids to show older people how to use social media and video chat to stay in touch, or how to find a new favorite show on Netflix.
Beyond that, grandkids have their own interests and skills to share. Sports, art, music, video games, and so on, there are tons of activities kids may love that aren’t familiar to their grandparents. Even if they don’t want to learn for themselves, I guarantee they’ll at least love watching their grandkids doing them!
8. Grandparents can get through when parents cannot.
Parents are the main teachers, disciplinarians, chore setters, and commitment keepers in children’s lives. But sometimes kids have a hard time listening or seeing past the “no” to understand the “why.” This is an excellent time for grandparents to step in!
Kids still have a great amount of love and respect for their grandparents, as they do their parents. However, there is also the added element of them not being the ones enforcing the rules daily. So when they go to a grandparent for a fresh perspective, it can be incredibly helpful to have them to back the parents up!
9. It’s better for everyone’s mental health.
Studies show that having a close bond lowers the risk of depression for both grandparents and their grandchildren. Having consistent support helps kids emotionally, whereas grandparents get joy and purpose out of being able to help their grandchildren.
Spending time with their grandkids can also help an older person feel young again. When they see their grandchild splashing around in a mud puddle or going to prom, it brings them back to days of their youth.
Grandparents add so much value to our lives! Many of us grow up and look back at our memories together with fondness. If your children have a close relationship with their grandparents, encourage them to make a sweet homemade gift for them this month. And if you’re lucky enough to have grandparents that are still around, give them a call! I’ll bet they would love to hear from you.
What are some of your favorite childhood memories with your grandparents?