There’s no love that compares to the love between a grandparent and her grandchild. From the time they are born, grandbabies take a special seat in our hearts that couldn’t possibly be filled by anyone else. We know you take pride in being a good grandparent, as you should. The relationship between you and your grandchild is of the utmost value. And whether other people know it or not, this unique bond is so much more than just free babysitting. The role that you play in your grandchild’s life offers him or her something that no one else could replace, and now, scientific research points to the proof that grandparent-grandchild relationships benefits both parties involved — in more ways than one.
A study out of the University of Oxford found that growing up with grandparents helps children to become better able to cope with adverse childhood experiences and trauma. The research included over 1,500 children and suggests that grandparental involvement in a child’s life contributes to the child’s wellbeing, leading to less behavior and emotional problems. These children all appeared to the researchers to have a more secure, developed sense of self which allowed them to deal with adverse life events in a healthier way. Interestingly, this same study analyzed the difference between grandmother involvement in the child’s life versus grandfather involvement. As it turns out, grandmother involvement was more associated with nurturing, while grandfather involvement was more associated with mentoring and activities.
And that’s not all: Other research suggests that close ties between grandparents and their grandchildren also lowers the risk of the child becoming depressed. A study published in the journal The Gerontologist found that the closer the kinship between grandparent and grandchild, the less likely a child was to exhibit depressive symptoms. And what’s more, the same went the other way around: Grandparents with close relationships to their grandchildren were also less likely to show signs of depression. That’s right, your little one is making you happier and more healthy, too! Another study even suggests that grandparents who babysit their grandchildren have a life expectancy that is an average of five years longer. Grandparent-grandchild love is the ultimate fountain of youth!
There you have it, being an involved grandmother benefits the health and wellbeing of your grandchild, helping them to feel a deeper sense of self, to feel safe, and to feel nurtured. And not only that, but your own mood and health is similarly benefited by having your grandbaby around. So go ahead and soak up every bit of love out of the precious time you have with your grandchild — and make sure to load that time with extra nurturing and hugs.