Grandparents often possess a great deal of knowledge and wisdom and are often considered the “wise owls” of the family. Whether they are sharing long lost stories from the past or giving advice you just cannot get anywhere else – the lessons from grandparents can be priceless.
A child-grandparent relationship can be fundamental in youth development and family life, we must do all that we can to improve healthy longevity for older generations. We’ve compiled just some of the ways that grandparents can offer so much, and what can be done to appreciate their presence long into the future.
1. Models for healthy relationships
Not only do grandparents bring purpose, optimism, and laughter into the family, but they also provide unconditional love and provide a role model figure for grandchildren – an unbreakable bond that cannot be replicated elsewhere.
From a grandchild’s perspective, a healthy relationship with a grandparent that offers intimacy and emotional support helps them to experience what a positive relationship should look like. In order to reap the benefits of having grandparents close for as long as possible, there are ways to take care of your health and well-being to ensure you live long into old age and make the most of time with your loved ones.
Encouraging a healthy relationship with a grandparent makes it easier to help each other out, particularly considering all that they’ve done for others. When we feel close, we feel comfortable asking one another for some assistance.
Asking a younger member of the family to help around the house, complete daily tasks and run errands is a great way of maintaining a lifelong relationship that gives both us and them an enormous sense of self-worth.
2. Advice-givers for new parents
Grandparents have years of life experience behind them – from being teenagers themselves to experiencing the joys and challenges of parenthood, relationships and so on. Asking older members for advice can give a new perspective, whilst also making them feel valued and appreciated.
Particularly during tough moments, grandparents can offer an extra ear or provide security for grandchildren and parents. They are vital in raising the youth of today, particularly those that are close enough to their children and grandchildren to act as an occasional carer or babysitter. This can be a great comfort for many parents as they know that they are leaving their children in capable hands and offers a trustworthy source of counsel.
3. Narrators of family history
Grandparents can be better seen as our very own personal historians. Their years of wisdom means that they are instrumental in teaching values to younger generations, instilling the heritage of different cultures and passing on the age-old tradition of storytelling.
It is important to reap the benefit of grandparents while we still can – asking them as many questions as possible, sitting, listening and reminiscing their tales of a time gone by. Children get a better understanding of who they are and where they come from, thanks to valuable connections with their grandparents.
With the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s affecting more than half a million people in the UK, spending time and inquiring about their lives works wonders for improving brain function among older members of the family.
4. Intergenerational teachers
Keeping grandparents in the loop of family affairs gives them a sense of purpose and well-being that cannot be underestimated. For grandchildren, they can be seen as a means of intergenerational learning, as they are often removed from the strain of discipline and parenting. In other words, they are fantastic stress relievers.
Having fun with grandparents can work wonders in improving a grandchild’s healthy development far into their lives. They are some of the best partners for fostering imagination and creativity – and in turn, love the role they have.
As grandparents grow older and less mobile, encouraging them to stay active does them the world of good. Whether that’s going for a morning at the local swimming pool followed by some coffee and a cake with a member of the family, or treating them to their very own walk-in bath installation at home – there are so many ways to make things easier so that we can enjoy our time together for as long as possible.