An Ode to Grandparents | Art in Aging

An Ode to Our Grandparents

What You Can Gain From Spending Time With Grandparents

The relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild is a precious one. There is nothing quite like it any other form of human interaction. A grandparent loves their grandchild in a way that a parent cannot, and a grandchild sees their grandparent in a way that is unseen elsewhere. There are, of course, the age old sayings about grandparents. Grandparents allow their grandchildren to get away with mischief their parents would scold them for, grandparents bake cookies and hand out sweets, then pass the children back to their parents when bedtime comes around, grandparents might show up with the toy that was supposed to be for the next birthday. A parent might roll their eyes and express annoyance, but at the end of the day, the grandparent knows that they have earned this status. They raised their children and now they get to enjoy the joys of being the kind, fun-loving, grandparent. But beyond the chocolate and hugs, there is so much that grandchildren can gain from their grandparents, and vice-versa.

What You Give Your Grandchildren

Children have a lot to gain from a strong relationship with their grandparents. The life you lived in a world years before their existence was even considered is mind-boggling to a grandchild. The stories that you can tell are unfathomable. A world without cell phones, Internet, maybe even TV? It might sound like a storybook to a young grandchild. And it can be one. Tell your grandchildren about your life to help them understand how the world changes. You also know stories about their mommies and daddies that they can’t imagine! One day, their parent was as young as they were, and only you can remember the details. As grandchildren get older it will be especially important for them to realize that their parents had a life before them. You can tell them about how you had the very same arguments with their mother, when she was 13 years old, and everything turned out just fine.

An Ode to Our Grandparents

In addition to the amazing stories, grandparents can teach you so many new skills. Remember, your grandparent has spent a lifetime honing these skills and they are the best teachers. Grandparents are patient and they want to pass down what they know, so take advantage of this time. Maybe it is an old family recipe they want to share or maybe they can teach you a few skills from a long-gone woodworking class. Find a common interest and take the time to learn from someone who knows so much and is so willing to spend time teaching you.

Most children scoff and roll their eyes when they are told to take their elbows off the table, but consider what a hotshot you will be when you’re having dinner at a friends house and you’re the guest with the perfect manners! While times are changing and etiquette is developing, grandparents are the best source of this information. In general, spending time with grandparents has been proven to improve children’s behavior. While children might not be afraid to act out in front of their parents, there is something special about the bond with a grandparent that makes a child want to act kindly and respectfully in front of their grandparents, and this behavior translates into relationships with other adults. Children who spent time with their grandparents have an increase in kind, empathetic behavior, are more considerate towards others, and more engaged in school. Invite the grandparents over for dinner!

Finally, grandparents love you unconditionally. They hold a love for you that is unlike your parents. The generation that separates you has allowed for time to foster the love that grandparents can give, so hold onto it tightly, and appreciate the way that a grandparent cares for you.

What Grandchildren Can Give You

Your grandchildren do more for you than you might think. That unconditional love flows both ways, and does more than make you smile. Grandchildren can help you stay sharp, keep you active, lower your risk of depression, and keep you learning. Even actions as simple as hugging and holding hands with your grandchild help you age better and help you stave off illnesses.

The never-ending stream of questions coming from your grandchildren is good for you! A study found that grandparents who spend at least one day a week with their grandchildren were more likely to offset dementia and had a lower risk of developing Altzheimers. Answering endless questions helps keep the memory sharp by increasing brain function. Keep the questions coming, kids.

Spending time with grandchildren is also a great way to prevent social isolation. Having a healthy grandparent-grandchild relationship means that the kids want to visit grandma’s house often, and you’ll always be blessed with a stream of visitors.

You don’t have to commit to becoming a full time babysitter but spending good quality time with your grandchildren is good for all. You’re building memories that will last a lifetime, and sharing knowledge and stories that will be passed down generation after generation. And if you don’t live close enough to your grandchildren to facilitate weekly visits, this is where technology comes in. Thanks to technology, we are now able to keep in regular contact with our grandchildren whether it be via telephone, Facebook, Skype or FaceTime. An ocean apart doesn’t have to mean less time with your grandchildren. Whether it’s visits, FaceTime, or Facebook updates, appreciate your grandparent-grandchild relationship. Take advantage of all that you can learn from one another and appreciate the love that you hold. 

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