Grandparents are a wonderful part of childhood for many kids. They often provide a loving, semi-indulgent, soft place for a kid to have fun and learn about the world.
In fact, including grandparents in daily life can help reduce the stress for all family members.
Parental Stress Can Be Relieved When Grandparents Provide Childcare
When parents are able to leave their children with their own parents instead of a daycare provider, even a few times a week, they tend to experience reduced stress. The expense of daycare can be overwhelming to many parents and lead to severe financial stress. Also, insecurities about leaving children with non-family members can create anxiety and stress.
Of course, when grandparents provide childcare, their stress levels must also be considered. Be sure to talk with your child’s grandparents and keep an open line of communication regarding how often they want to watch your children and make sure it doesn’t become a source of stress for them.
Additionally, grandparents can be an excellent source of advice and information for parents. They’ve been through the process of raising kids already and can often have great insight. They love to be asked their opinion, and it’s also a great time to open a dialogue about different ways of doing things.
Children’s Stress Can Decrease with Grandparents Around
Often, grandparents are less stressed, less hurried, and more attentive to children than parents, who are in the thick of it with caring for the kids, working, and paying bills. A good relationship with a grandparent can be wonderfully stress-relieving for a child, who may be able to slow down, not be as rushed, and spend time talking and exploring and interacting with the world around them when they might not be able to do so with a parent.
Grandparents’ Stress Can Be Relieved by Regular Contact with Grandchildren
Many elderly people experience loneliness and its associated stress as their younger family members become increasingly busy with the lifestyle of middle age (kids, jobs, and activities). Having regular contact with grandchildren to whom they can teach what they know and simply sit and play with routinely can drastically decrease stress for grandparents.
This doesn’t always have to mean that the grandparent is providing care for the child; it could mean that regular visits to the grandparents’ house for the whole family are scheduled, or it could be that the grandparent comes to the child’s house regularly for visits.
Grandparents Help Kids Develop Strong Identities
Kids who are routinely spending time with grandparents are exposed to stories that can help root them in their family identity. This sense of belonging is critical for good mental health and well-being. When kids are spending time with their grandparents, they’re often spending time with cousins, too, and that can also give them a sense of family and help them learn good relationship skills.