Research shows kids need their grandparents more than we even realize

It doesn’t take a psychologist or human behaviorist to know that spending time at your grandparents’ is destressing as can be. When grandma bakes you a pie and brings you cookies, or when grandpa walks around the block with you, all that stress from school and life seems to vanish. So is it really surprising then, that there’s actual science showing why?

Turns out, we owe our grandparents a lot for our growing-up years. Here are all the reasons why!

1. Children find their grandparents to be better listeners.

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The unspoken rule of families is that grandparents are essentially a second set of parents. When mom and dad seem like they’re not listening or understanding you quite well, grandma and grandpa are right there. It’s hard to admit for many kids, but there are times when mom and dad really aren’t that good at listening. Grandma and grandpa though? They’re all ears.

2. Their life lessons are a dime a dozen.

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Obviously, at senior age, grandparents have seen a lot. A generational gap that wide means that they’ve lived in a totally different world from you. It also means they’ve been through every hurdle and hardship you’ll eventually have to deal with as well. It’s only natural that they drop that life lesson on you every now and then.

3. That homely, trusted feeling goes a long way.

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With friends that change, trends that come and go, and even cultural and political shifts going by so quickly, young people can get overwhelmed quite easily. They needn’t worry about their grandparents changing, though. No matter what happens, grandma and grandpa will always be your loving grandparents.

4. Grandparents are great mental health boosters.

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Don’t believe me? Ask the scientists! With how comforting it is to be around grandma and grandpa, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to dig deep into the science to find out why. A study published in 2016 finds a nice, general link between being close with your grandparents and a lessened tendency to suffer from depression.

5. They’re our link to our family’s past!

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The thing about families is that they go way back. How’d you get here? How’d any of you get here? What was life like for us 30 years before I was born? Well, lucky you, your grandparents probably have all the answers!

6. We learn to stop the unnecessary worrying about the future.

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Age is inevitable, and with it comes wrinkles, greying hairs, teeth falling and much more. Friends might disappear, and you’ll be in hard times when you least expect it. The great thing is that you can always laugh and appreciate the little things to feel a bit better, and who better to learn that from than from your grandparents?

7. You couldn’t ask for better mentors.

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“Be the change you want to see in the world”, and this isn’t seen any better than in grandparents. They’re always delighted to see you, and they spend most of their time making sure your comfortable and feel appreciated. Role models aren’t easy to come by, which is why everyone gets 2 amazing, senior ones for free.

8. We can return the favor.

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Most of the time on this list has been spent talking about the help that comes from them. Though it isn’t really just one or the other. As grandkids, we’re just as capable of teaching them. Does grandpa need help with using the computer? Grandma can’t tend to the kitchen without a helping hand? Or do they just want to feel more in touch with the younger generation? Whatever it is, we’re not hesitating to help at all.

9. We learn to appreciate every moment.

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We grow up quicker than our parents and grandparents want us to. Time is precious, and time spent with family even more so. Seeing grandma and grandpa reminds you that one day, you might just be a grandparent too. Plus, your grandparents won’t stop thinking about how quickly you’re growing up. Put together, the lesson is a big, loud “Enjoy every second!”.

10. It’s all love, and with no conditions.

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We might be used to thinking that love is an earned thing. That we need to spend hours and hours with someone before we can confidently bestow that magic “L” word on them. But love, even the platonic kind, just doesn’t always work like that. Parents and grandparents will start loving you from the day you’re born, and you can bet they’re not going to stop anytime soon!

11. It’s a win for everyone!

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Grandparents and grandkids alike get quite a lot of benefit from spending time together. You might recall that one study cited earlier, about reduced depressive tendencies when you spend more time with your grandparents. Well, there’s another study courtesy of Dr. David Coall, and this one finds that grandparents who spend a lot of time babysitting seem to live longer too! The best part is that he even double checked the results by controlling for some factors. See? Science!

12. They’re the best friends you could look for.

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It may be school or work that we’d turn to when we want to make friends. That’s just how it works, isn’t it? For the most part, at least. Grandparents are the greatest friends you could ask for, and you probably don’t even know it most of the time. They’re happy to spend time with you, and could very well be just as fun as going out with your college buds.

13. We can learn quite a lot about past styles from them.

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Fashion from eras ago never stops being cool. If you have doubts, just look at every Netflix show that tries to channel 1920s and 1980s fashion into their shows (looking at you, Stranger Things and Peaky Blinders). Though everything you’d like to know about those eras of classic fashion is just one conversation with grandma away!

14. Your comfort is their top priority.

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With each visit, grandma and grandpa won’t ever let you feel uncomfortable. Simply say that you’re hungry, and grandma is ready to hop into the kitchen and bring you every cookie she can make. Tell it to grandpa, and you’ll have a meaty sandwich in your hands before you even know it.

15. They take their role as your grandparents very seriously!

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Thanks to the American Grandparents Association, we know that 72% of grandparents think that being a grandparent is the “most important and satisfying” thing they could do in life. We grandkids have little to worry about, then!

Have you called your grandparents recently? With lockdowns and a changing world, it might be a great idea to regularly keep in touch with them. Please share this article with your friends and family by clicking “share” down below, and even more importantly, don’t forget to call your grandparents!

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Source: [Moorman and Stokes 2016 published in The Gerontologist, Coal et al. 2016, Wilmington Parent]